(Matamoros, Tamaulipas) – On May 9, the Board of Directors of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and the North American Development Bank (NADB) met in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and approved financing and certification for six new environmental infrastructure projects that together will receive loans and grants totaling US$44.57 million and will benefit more than 1.54 million residents in various communities throughout the U.S.-Mexico border region.
"2012 was an exceptional year for both institutions, with BECC certifying 19 projects costing an estimated US$1.8 billion to build and NADB approving more than US$683 million in loans and grants to support their implementation,‖ stated Board chair Juan Bosco Martí Ascencio, representing Mexico’s Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público. ―Today, we can report that this work pace is continuing into 2013, and that both institutions are taking actions aimed at improving their operational efficiency." 

Among the projects certified for financing is NADB’s first biogas project, which will capture and use methane gas from the municipal landfill in Saltillo, Coahuila to generate electricity. The project will be developed by Lorean Energy Group, S.A.P.I. de C.V., which has the concession from the Municipality to use the landfill biomass and operate the biogas recovery and power generation project. The electricity will be used by the Municipality under a self-supply permit, which will reduce its energy costs. The facility is expected to help displace 45,015 metric tons/year of carbon dioxide equivalent, as well as capture and burn the biogas (methane) from the landfill preventing its release into the atmosphere. 

The Board also approved a basic urban infrastructure project for Hermosillo, Sonora that will help reduce water, soil and air pollution in the municipality. Among the works considered for this project are improvements to the water and wastewater systems, including the installation of 4,500 residential sewer hookups and construction of two wastewater treatment plants with a joint capacity of 0.80 million gallons per day (MGD) that will provide service to the outlying communities of Bahía de Kino, La Victoria and Tazajal. The project also includes rehabilitation of storm water inlet structures, paving of 422,691 square meters (m2 ) of dirt roads, and rehabilitation of 404,307 m2 of existing roads.

The Board also certified two wastewater system improvement projects in Holtville, a small community in the southern part of Imperial Valley, California, which will benefit more than 6,000 residents. The first project will replace the sewer main that conveys all of the collected wastewater to the treatment plant, while the second project expands the sewer system to a currently unserved area. These projects will receive a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), which is administered by the NADB. 

Finally, the Board of Directors agreed to provide grants for two projects through NADB’s Community Assistance Program (CAP) to finance a water system improvement project in Sunland Park, New Mexico, and a storm water infrastructure project in Santiago, Nuevo León. 

The Sunland Park project will replace approximately 2,150 water meters and acquire meter reading equipment and data collection and billing software that will contribute to water resource management and conservation by helping the utility to detect leaks and develop effective conservation strategies. 

The CAP project in Santiago, Nuevo León will directly benefit 20,000 residents of the community of Los Fierros by constructing a new storm water collection main along two streets to interconnect with the existing regional storm water system. Improved storm water management will prevent unsanitary conditions, including flooding and surface ponding, eliminating possible exposure to stagnant water and reducing the risk for waterborne diseases. 

Karen Mathiasen, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of International Development Policy and Debt of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and co-chair of the Board, welcomed the approvals, noting that the diversity of projects has the potential to generate "significant and sustained improvements in health and the environment along the border region." 

The Board also approved several new financial policies to further strengthen management of the Bank’s capital. The U.S. and Mexican co-chairs took the opportunity to reaffirm their confidence in the effective stewardship of the Bank’s resources. In this vein, they welcomed the recent AA rating from Fitch, which took note of the strong support of the two governments for this unique institution.

The Board is comprised on the U.S. side of the Department of the Treasury, the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on the Mexican side by their counterparts—the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), as well as by a border state and a border resident representative from each country. 

In its 18 years of operation, BECC has certified 218 environmental infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. For its part, NADB is providing more than US$2.3 billion in loans and grants to support 187 of those projects, which represents a total investment of approximately US$5.6 billion and will benefit an estimated 18 million border residents.

BECC is an international organization established by the governments of the United States and Mexico that works to preserve, protect and enhance human health and the environment of the U.S.-Mexico border region, by strengthening cooperation among interested parties and supporting sustainable projects through a transparent bi-national process in close coordination with NADB, federal, state and local agencies, the private sector and civil society.

NADB is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border. As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank works to develop integrated, sustainable and fiscally responsible projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.