Thursday, April 14, 2011

Legislation Introduced to Bring Greater Security to U.S. Border and Federal Lands

National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) today introduced the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act (H.R. 1505).  This legislation remedies current security gaps that exist on federal lands along our nation’s borders by preventing the Department of Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using environmental policies to restrict the U.S. Border patrol from obtaining routine access.  House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) are original co-sponsors of the bill. There are more than 20 million acres of federal land located along the southern U.S. border region. Due to the U.S. Border Patrol’s inability to maintain a routine presence on federal lands, criminal drug and human smuggling organizations have co-opted these areas as superhighways into the United States. Drug cartels and other criminal operations recognize that federal lands provide miles of virtually unfettered access into the U.S. This has not only contributed to the escalating border violence but has also caused severe environmental degradation. On Friday, April 15th the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and the Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Subcommittee will hold a joint oversight hearing titled “The Border: Are Environmental Laws and Regulation Impeding Security and Harming the Environment?.”...more

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