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US/Mexico Sister City Convention
by Kevin G
US/Mexico Sister City Association Events
source: SolarQuest®

Hermosa Beach, CA •• Jan. 22, 2000 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service •• January 22, 2000

We attended the Sister City Association 37th Annual National Convention; the main topic of discussion was how we can help our shared environment. Senator Debra Bowen and Congressman Steven Kuykendall spoke about environmental protection and other issues that are involved with keeping our environment safe.

Debra Bowen talked about how the Internet enables communications about environmental problems around the world. She also spoke about problems in the environment. Some of the discussion was about when we try to fix one environmental problem we end up with numerous other problems. She used the example of how we used the chemical MTBE that is put into gas to make the air cleaner to help solve our air pollution issues caused water pollutants. No one knew that it would create a problem when they first started using it but once it got into the water supply problems occurred. So, now California is trying to get rid of MTBE. Also, she mentioned that in a lagoon in Baja California, Mexico, a Mitsubishi plant has plans for putting in a facility. In doing so they would use the water there for the plant. What they did not realize is that the lagoon is a mating ground for California Grey Whales. Senator Bowen was basically saying that when people do certain things, they don't think about how it affects the environment around them. She can be reached at www.sen.ca.gov/bowen.

Congressman Steven Kuykendall talked about bills that are being passed for a cleaner South Bay, such as HR11 which is the removal of MTBE from gasoline. Some of the larger bills being passed are like HR99 or the Beach Bill. It is a bill to set national standards for clean beaches not just in California, but on every beach in America. Another large bill is HR1300, which lets contaminated sites be cleaned up and used again so it's not a waste of space and is no longer unsafe so it can be used. A very important project he touched on was the dredging of Marina Del Ray where contaminated silt is blocking part of the harbor. This way it is not contaminating Santa Monica Bay and it is free of waste in case the Coast Guard is called out to the Bay.

Both stated that working together we could help each other clean up the environment. They stressed how important collaboration among different countries was in order to keep our environment clean for ourselves and our children.

Written By: Lauren Anderson, Hermosa Valley School

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