Communities along the U.S.-Mexico border face a variety of environmental and public health challenges. Grassroots organizations in both countries are working to confront serious pollution problems and to promote sustainable economic development in the border region. An intricate system of laws, regulations, policies and programs has been created in the U.S. and Mexico to respond to environmental and public health concerns. Effective enforcement is a vital component of this system, and the participation and active involvement of community residents who are intimately familiar with local environmental problems can be a strong source of support for enforcement activities.
As part of our joint Community Environmental Law Initiative, ELI and the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice have developed a new resource for border communities to address local environmental problems, Environmental Enforcement in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region: A Community Guide to Enforcement in Texas and Chihuahua. The handbook provides practical information about the tools for community participation in environmental enforcement, describing legal tools in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as bi-national mechanisms for promoting effective enforcement. The handbook focuses on the states of Texas and Chihuahua, but provides information about environmental agencies, laws and processes that can be useful to communities throughout the border region. The handbook is available in English and Spanish.