Thursday, June 17, 2010

Federal Regs on Environment May Be Hindering Border Security, Lawmakers Say

Federal environmental regulations that prevent border agents from expanded patrols of national wildlife parks appear to have had a hand in the government's decision to declare an 80-mile stretch of Arizona-Mexico border a virtual no-man's land. U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings of Washington, Peter King of New York, Rob Bishop of Utah and Lamar Smith of Texas said their bill, if passed, will address environmental degradation of federal lands and help close national security gaps along the border, which they say has become an uncontrolled highway. "Effectively securing our borders against illegal entry is a matter of homeland security," King said in a statement. "Border Patrol agents spend every day on the front line, securing our homeland from terrorists. Denying or limiting the Border Patrol access to public lands and allowing the flow of illegals, including potential terrorists, doesn't protect anything."...more

It's not just the reg's, it's the laws such as the Wilderness Act. The reg's just implement the law. Nothing much will change until their bill, H.R. 5016, or something very close to it becomes law. Here's the language from their bill:

On public lands of the United States, neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the Secretary of Agriculture may impede, prohibit, or restrict activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security to achieve operational control (as defined in section 2(b) of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (8 U.S.C. 1701 note; Public Law 109-367).

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