COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
If you take a look at the fugitives on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s most wanted list, you’ll see they are often wanted for the irresponsible handling of hazardous waste and materials, including illegal importing and exporting.
That’s because hazardous substances can be toxic, radioactive, explosive, flammable, corrosive or infectious and, if mismanaged, can provoke severe adverse effects on humans and the environment.
In recent years, North American governments have made tremendous progress toward strengthening laws and regulations governing sound management of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials within their boundaries. However, when truckloads of hazardous waste cross international borders, cooperation and coordination becomes crucial.
Until this year Canada, the US and Mexico were exchanging this information using a paper-based system. Crossing the Border, a CEC-commissioned report pinpoints these drawbacks: data entry backlogs, limited ability to quickly access a broad set of information and lengthy delays at the border, among others. The study determined that the transition to electronic exchange of information would make information-sharing faster and enforcement response time quicker.
In response, the CEC’s trilateral Hazardous Task Waste Force created the Notice and Consent Electronic Data Exchange that became fully operational in 2012. The program is a pioneering node-to-node electronic system that connects the three North American agencies in charge of authorizing the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and materials.
For more information, visit www.cec.org/crossingtheborder.