GANNETT NEWS SERVICE

 

 

Laborers' Union To Help Train Mexico's Workers On Cleanup

 

 

May 26, 1994

 

 

It wasn't long ago when organized labor was arrayed against the North American Free Trade Agreement, which removed trade barriers among the United States, Canada and Mexico.

 

NAFTA also came with an environmental accord to boost environmental standards in Mexico, and now the Laborer's International Union of North America is about to train Mexican workers on how to deal with environmental problems.

"NAFTA has given us an opportunity to get more involved in environmental issues," LIUNA President Arthur Coia said at a briefing on the new Interamerican Partnership of Environmental Education and Training. Funded in part by three of the union's largest funds, and using existing union training facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border, the agreement calls for eventual training of about 50,000 Mexican workers.

 

Also backing the program: The Mexican National Institute of Public Health; the City Council of Tlalnepantla; the Mexican National Chamber of Contractors; and the National Institute for Training of Construction Workers. The union is seeking additional money from the U.S. government to offset some of the training costs.

 

Tanks deployed to help fish

The Defense Logistics Agency will deploy six veteran U.S. Army tanks June 1 in what must be their most unusual - and final - mission: Serving asartificial reefs on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico off Alabama's Dauphin Island. The six obsolete tanks are the first of about 200 surplus tanks that will be sunk off the coasts of Alabama, Florida and other states as part of an innovative plan to build fake reefs and enhance marine life habitat. The tanks are being prepared for the deep by Army and Navy reservists in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency to remove possible contaminants.

 

Recycling in 7 parks hits 944 tons

Visitors to seven of the largest national parks helped recycle 1.8 million pounds of glass, plastic and aluminum last year, according to the National Park Service, Dow Chemical Co., and Huntsman Chemical Corp. The total was up 25 percent from 1992 and included collections at Everglades, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, and Grand Canyon national parks, as well as the National Mall in Washington.

 

The two chemical companies have spent $ 4 million to get the recycling programs going, and four parks have assumed full operation of their recycling programs while the other four should take over next year. Some of the material is turned into new recycling bins, as well as such park fixtures as walkways, benches and other structures.

 

 

Enviro kids zero in on concerns

 

More than 2,000 youngsters from 20 states and 30 countries poured into Washington recently to celebrate environmental issues and select their "10 Commitments" to environmental action.

 

The 1994 Global Youth Forum was sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in cooperation with the Center for Resource Management and underwritten in large part by S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., recognized as one of the corporate leaders on environmental issues.

 

Delegates to this year's forum voted to concentrate on natural resource use, biodiversity, atmospheric issues, water, energy, waste, sustainable living, cooperation, human rights, and taking action.

 

Meanwhile, more than 140,000 youngsters participating in a national "Kids Choose" vote on environmental issues listed "preserve wildlife" as their chief concern.

 

The national vote was sponsored by a coalition of youth environmental groups known as Earth Force Alliance and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with added support from the National Environment Education and Training Foundation.

 

While preserving wildlife was most frequently mentioned by balloting youngsters, scoring 40 percent, other issues scored strong as well:

 

plant/save trees (26 percent); reduce garbage (21 percent); conserve water (9 percent). Write-ins included: reduce air pollution; save rainforests; protect the ozone layer.

 

Endangered species update: Alexander Archipelago wolves

 

A weekly sampling of the comings, goings, studies and petitions for the endangered species list:

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a formal review and is seeking information on the status of the Alexander Archipelago wolf of southeast Alaska, which has been petitioned for listing as threatened.

 

FWS will also study the wolf's status as a subspecies to determine whether protection is warranted.

 

To comment by July 19 or obtain more information, write Field Supervisor,

USFWS, Ecological Services,

3000 Vintage Blvd., Suite 201,

Juneau, Alaska, 99801.


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