U.S.-Mexico Trade:

Information on Environmental Regulations and Enforcement

NSIAD-91-227: Published: May 13, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Mexican environmental protection standards and enforcement, focusing on: (1) Mexico's environmental problems; (2) Mexican environmental protection laws and regulations; (3) Mexico's resources and efforts to implement and enforce its environmental protection program; and (4) U.S.-Mexico cooperative efforts to enhance environmental protection.

GAO found that: (1) Mexico's air, water, and hazardous waste pollution problems resulted from rapid population growth, urbanization, and industrialization without sufficient resources and infrastructure to support that growth; (2) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that Mexico's environmental protection laws and regulations were similar to U.S. laws and regulations, but many Mexican regulations were still in the developmental stage; (3) the Mexican system for implementing and enforcing its environmental protection program varied for new and existing facilities; (4) Mexico's environmental program needed additional financial resources and staff to ensure that all facilities were in compliance; and (5) the United States and Mexico initiated several joint agreements to address border environmental problems, such as the construction of wastewater treatment facilities.