International Cooperation

EPA's Role in the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is led by the Environmental ministers from Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
EPA takes a leadership role in the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)Exit an international organization established by the United States, Canada, and Mexico under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)Exit The NAAEC complements the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
 
Since its creation in 1994, the CEC has advanced our understanding of trade-environment linkages; successfully promoted citizen engagement and increased government accountability regarding enforcement; achieved substantial results on key North American issues such as chemicals management and the conservation of North American biodiversity; and built substantial environmental capacities, particularly in Mexico, but also in the United States and Canada.  Learn about other trade agreements and protecting the environment.
 
Moving forward, the CEC will focus on projects and activities to tackle climate change and improve air quality, green transportation in North America, address waste in trade in North America, and a host of cross-cutting issues to protect human health and the environment in North America.
 

Highlights

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the public release of the CEC factual record regarding United States activities under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to address mercury releases from coal-fired power plants. Under the NAAEC, a resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico may make a submission claiming that one of the three countries is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law and the CEC may be authorized under certain circumstances to prepare a factual record on the matter. The factual record on Coal-Fired Power Plants was developed in response to a 2004 submission by a coalition of U.S. and Canadian environmental groups asserting that the U.S. is not fully using the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to limit mercury releases from coal-fired power plants. 

 

Other Recent Activities:

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CEC Council

The CEC Council Exitis the governing body of the Commission, and is comprised of the environment "ministers" of the three Parties, or their designees.
 
EPA represents the United States on the three-member Council that governs the Commission.  To implement the agreement and fulfill its role on the Council, EPA leads a broad interagency group including the State Department, U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Health and Human Services.  EPA also coordinates U.S. interaction with the CEC Secretariat, advisory committees, and Council-created working groups.

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CEC Secretariat

The Secretariat Exit is headed by an Executive Director and provides technical, administrative and operational support. Additionally, the NAAEC gives the Secretariat several independent responsibilities which are overseen by the Council.  The Secretariat is located in Montreal, Canada, with a liaison office in Mexico City. 

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Joint Public Advisory Committee

The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) Exit is comprised of 15 representatives of the public, five appointed by each of the Parties. In the United States, the five JPAC members are appointed by the President.

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Other Advisory Committees

The United States has convened a National Advisory Committee (NAC) and also a Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to advise us on our CEC work. Canada and Mexico also have National Advisory Committees advising their Council members.

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North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA)

In February 2012, the CEC Council approved the first round of grants to be funded through the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) grant program, with a focus on building strong partnerships with communities and stakeholders in all 3 countries. NAPECA will support a diverse set of projects by providing access to CEC resources for a broad base of on-the-ground organizations and associations. In July 2013, the Council announced the 2nd round of funding under NAPECAExit

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Pollutant Release and Transfer (PRTR)

Following project-based work on developing the Taking Stock Pollutant Release and transfer registry, the CEC Council cemented the work of this group into the programmatic work of the CEC Secretariat. Learn more about EPA's work with CEC's Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry, a part of EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Around the World Program

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Working Groups

 
Current CEC working groups include the North American Air Working Group (NAAWG), the Sound Management of Chemicals (SMOC) Working Group, the Enforcement Working Group (EWG), the Biodiversity Conservation Working Group (BCWG), and the Trade and Environment Working Group. These working groups provide advice and guidance for projects in the CEC workplan.
 

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Strategic Plan

In July 2010, the Council approved the CEC's Strategic Plan for 2010-2015 (PDF)Exit The plan established three strategic priorities for the Council: health communities and ecosystems, low carbon economy in North America, and greening the North American economy. Specific objective and initiatives to support this approach can be found for each of these areas in the strategic plan. The 2015-2020 plan is in the early stages of development.

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Operational Plan

Each year, Council approves an operational plan and budget. The Operational Plan Exit includes projects under the priorities established in the Strategic Plan and lays out the tasks that are currently taking place.   

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Contacts

For additional information on EPA's work with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, contact:
Sylvia Correa
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-6443