"The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) includes several environment-related provisions, that while limited, were lauded for their inclusion in a trade agreement. However, further environmental (and labor) assurances were needed to secure passage of NAFTA, and ultimately, the negotiating parties agreed to a side accord that promotes trilateral cooperation on environmental matters and includes provisions to address a party's failure to enforce environmental laws. Further to gain NAFTA support, the United States and Mexico agreed to establish a bilateral Border Environment Cooperation Commission and North American Development Bank to help border-area communities finance environmental infrastructure projects. The United States and Mexico also developed a cooperative plan to address a range of border environmental issues; phase two of the plan, the Border XXI Program, began in 1996. Since NAFTA's inception, its environmental implications have remained a subject of debate and legislation. Ongoing issues include NAFTA's possible environmental effects, border funding, and the implementation of NAFTA-related environmental agreements. This report provides an overview of NAFTA's environmental provisions and associated agreements and initiatives, and discusses recent issues and congressional activities. It will be updated as events warrant."
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/