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    Israel, US to boost eco ties
    Minister Erdan, EPA Chief Jackson expand shared environmental MOU to include more greentech research, eco-economy

    Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and US Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson signed an addendum to the environmental memorandum of understanding between the countries, expanding their joint operations in the field, the ministry said on its website.


    The addendum was signed on the 21st anniversary of the original environmental MOU signed between Jerusalem and Washington. Jackson visited Israel for the anniversary, as the Environmental Protection Ministry's guest.


    The two's collaboration on environmental issues was expanded to include more research, development and information sharing; green technology development, water sources management, land rehabilitation, air quality and ecological economy ventures.


    "Israel is currently in the process of closing decades-worth of gaps in environmental regulation. The United States' vast experience in the field will help up immensely in meeting the challenges we face," Minister Erdan said.


    The EPA director noted that she was very impressed by Israel's greentech innovativeness, adding that the US was interested in learning more about the policies Israel is using to encourage the development of environmental technologies.


    She further noted that Israel's natural gas discoveries have the potential to dramatically decrease Israel's dependency on oil and crude and significantly improve urban air quality. The United States is taking similar steps, Jackson said.


    She expressed interest in Erdan's Green Government Plan, saying that the US has also significantly increased the public sector's environmentally-friendly procurements, following a presidential order to that effect.


    US government procurements amount to $500 billion a year and according to the EPA chief, the new policy has resulted in both a significant saving as well as a boost for the green-products industry.


    Sharon Gilad contributed to this report



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