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<p>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
<br>AUGUST 22, 2000
<p>CONTACT: JAKE LEWIS OR LAURA JONES, 202 265 4000
<p>NADER CRITICIZES CLINTON-GORE RECORD ON NAFTA
<p> SAN DIEGO, CA--The deplorable
health conditions along the Mexican-U. S.
<br>border are some of the lasting and most disgraceful legacies of the
<br>American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Ralph Nader charged here today.
<p> "When NAFTA was being pushed
through the Congress, the Clinton-Gore
<br>Administration promised that the cheap-labor pollution-producing
<br>maquiladoras dotting the Mexican border communities would be cleaned
<br>Nader said. "It hasn't happened and today these factories and the makeshift
<br>housing they have spawned continue to exist as a major human tragedy
<br>peril to public health."
<p> Nader said Vice President
Gore lobbied heavily for NAFTA and "shares the
<br>responsibility for the false promises that helped sell the treaty to
<br>Congress, the media and the American people."
<p> Nader said Vice President
Gore should come to these border communities and
<br>explain to the people why the Administration has "failed so miserably
<br>insist that its promises be funded and kept to end the health hazards."
<p> Nader, the Green Party candidate
for President, said the 10-mile section
<br>bordering Tijuana and San Diego is one of the most heavily populated,
<br>industrialized and polluted areas along the border.
<p> Nader said smoke stacks and
effluent pipes emit heavy metals, acids, and
<br>solvents into neighboring communities, damaging the environment and
<br>generating diseases. He said the problem is compounded by the lack
<br>adequate infrastructure in the region including sewage treatment systems,
<br>roads, fire and other emergency services.
<p> Nader cited the case of a
battery recycling plant-Metales y Derivados-which
<br>had failed to properly dispose of hazardous wastes including 6,600
<br>lead-containing residue and other toxic compounds at the site near
<br>working class neighborhood of Colonia Chilpancingo. Residents of the
<br>area report health problems including skin rashes and birth defects
<br>they attribute to chemicals leaking off the site. The hazardous
<br>affects not only the communities in the immediate area, but drains
<br>nearby waterways like the Tijuana River which empties into estuaries
<br>beaches in the southeastern corner of San Diego County.
<p> Nader said the Commission
for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) , created
<br>under a NAFTA side agreement, had finally agreed to conduct an
<br>"investigation" of Mexico's enforcement lapses at the plant after 18
<br>of delay. He noted, however, that the CEC has no enforcement powers
<br>said was another example of the toothless nature of health and
<br>environmental protections under NAFTA.
<p> Nader said a high priority
should be placed, at the very least, on
<br>amending NAFTA to provide adequate and enforceable health and safety
<br>provisions-"provisions that are more than the empty phrases that
<br>Clinton-Gore Administration used to paper over the hazards to public
<br>in order to gain public and Congressional support."
<br>Deputy Press Secretary
<br>p: 202-265-4000 * fax: 202-265-0183 * www.votenader.org
<p>Paid for by Nader 2000 General Committee, Inc.