SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Border Authority has
approved a transfer of federal funds, a move toward getting a
hazardous materials response crew for the Santa Teresa port of
entry.
The federal government appropriated about $1.2 million for the
effort in southern Dona Ana County.
Since Santa Teresa lies in the unincorporated part of the
county, the Border Authority decided Monday the County Commission
will administer the money. The agreement includes a stipulation
that the county make a good-faith effort to include the city of
Sunland Park in organizing the team before any money can be used.
Sunland Park and the county have been embroiled in lawsuits
ranging from waste water service zones to taxes and the ownership
of an area utility, Santa Teresa Services Co.
Sunland Park Fire Chief Robert Monsivaiz said a mutual aid
agreement has been negotiated with the county, but that county
officials would not agree to give the city part of the federal
money for equipment.
City firefighters already are trained to handle hazardous
materials emergencies but need more equipment, Monsivaiz said.
He greatest concern, he said, is that any mishap around Santa
Teresa will affect Sunland Park.
"All of our children attend Santa Teresa High School. Our water
wells are in that area. If there is a (contamination) plume, we are
downwind from that area," he said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)