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Mexicali's Hermosillo praises U.S. cooperation

April 06, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Mexicali Mayor Victor Hermosillo said ground was broken last week on a gas-fired wastewater-fueled power plant that will supply energy to both sides of the border.

Two more such plants are planned for the Mexicali area.

"The gas-fired plant will provide 750 megawatts of power; 500 megawatts are already spoken for by the Mexican federal government. The remaining 250 megawatts we will sell to California," Hermosillo said.

He said such a cooperative effort between Mexico and the United States is just one of the ways the countries can help each other deal with the energy crisis in California and the rapid growth of Mexicali.

During a meeting with the Calexico City Council on Thursday, Hermosillo discussed energy policy, traffic issues and addressed concerns about pollution of the border area.

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Calexico City Manager Richard Inman asked Hermosillo about concerns Imperial Valley officials have about air pollution that would be generated by the new plants.

"That is interesting to know," Hermosillo said. "Now is the time to put the issue on the table."

Councilman Gilbert Grijalva agreed with Hermosillo and asked him to make sure Calexico is included in any talks concerning pollution or efforts to help clean up the air.

Francisco Rodriguez, the international affairs director for Mexicali, said concerns about the lack of environmental regulations governing Mexican power plants are "rumors."

"We have the same red tape to build power plants. It's not that we don't pay attention. It's just that we have different laws," Rodriguez said.

Hermosillo said concern about pollution goes both ways across the border.

"My people complain about agricultural burning (in the Imperial Valley) and you complain about the Rio Nuevo," Hermosillo said.

Hermosillo said next month Mexicali, Baja California and Mexican federal officials will meet with Imperial County supervisors and members of the El Centro and Calexico city councils to discuss a comprehensive environmental policy for the entire region.

"The Mexican federal government views Mexicali, Tijuana, Calexico and San Diego as one region," Hermosillo said.

He said the review next month will examine how Mexicali is going to help deal with Tijuana's staggering growth as well as deal with pollution concerns from both countries.

Calexico Mayor Victor Carrillo said the point of the meeting was not to place blame on either party but to work together to make life better for their respective constituencies.

"Solutions can always be within reach," Carrillo said.

Regarding the traffic inspections that slow passage to and from Mexico during specific times of the day, Hermosillo said Mexican President Vicente Fox is "taking more care" than previous administrations.

He said the Calexico City Council could write him with any concerns it has and he would pass those concerns along to the appropriate Mexican federal agencies.

In another traffic discussion, Hermosillo said he has worked with California Department of Transportation officials regarding traffic flow to the Calexico East Port of Entry and the effect it has on traffic on Cole Road and other areas of northern Calexico.

"I can show you the maps and graphs we have worked on if you would like," he said.

Councilman John Renison said he and the rest of the council would like to be included in such meetings with Caltrans officials.

He said in the past there was more communication between all parties involved.

Hermosillo acknowledged Calexico officials had not been invited to certain meetings but said in the future the two cities would work together.

"That's the way to do it," Hermosillo said.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419

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