U. S. Customs and Border Protection took comments in Havre Thursday about a draft of a planning document, and will accept more comments via the Internet, mail and even telephone for three more weeks.
The meeting was one of a number of meetings held on the agency’s draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement discussing social and environmental impacts of CBP actions to secure the border and facilitate legal trade and traffic, as per its mission.
After collecting comment last year, the company preparing the statement changed the format. Rather than writing four separate documents, the northern border was divided into four regions — west of the Continental Divide, east of the Continental Divide, the Great Lakes region, and New England — with one document examining the regions and looking at the actions of CBP as one agency and the impacts overall.
The draft found that most of the proposed actions in planning for future CBP activity — ranging from no change to a mix of three other alternatives — had little to no negative impact, or even beneficial impacts. The actions that could have negative impacts could be mitigated, if selected.
Paul Martin of CBP said during Havre’s meeting that the agency does not yet have a preferred alternative.
The alternatives listed in the draft are:
No Action Alternative (or “status quo”) would be to continue with the same facilities, technology, infrastructure and approximate level of personnel currently in use, deployed or currently planned by CBP.
Development and Improvement Alternative would focus on providing new permanent facilities or improvements to those facilities such as Border Patrol stations, POEs, and other facilities to allow CBP agents to operate more efficiently and respond to situations more quickly.
Detection, Inspection, Surveillance, and Communications Technology Expansion Alternative would focus on deploying more effective surveillance and communication technologies in support of CBP activities.
Tactical Security Infrastructure Deployment Alternative would focus on constructing additional barriers, access roads, and related facilities.
Flexible Direction Alternative would allow CBP to follow any of the above directions based on what will be most effective to respond to the changing threat environment along the northern border. It is impossible to predict what measures will be needed at any point in time, and the needed mix is likely to change constantly because the threat environment changes constantly.
For more information about the public meetings, the project, or to obtain a copy of the draft PEIS, people can visit the project’s website at www.NorthernBorderPEIS.com, and a copy of the PEIS may also be requested by calling (866) 760-1421 or by mailing a request to: CBP Northern Border PEIS, P.O. Box 3625, McLean, VA 22102. Most public libraries in communities along the northern border have CD-ROM copies of the PEIS.
Comments can be submitted on the website, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by mail to CBP Northern Border PEIS, PO Box 3625, McLean, VA 22102, or by telephone at (866) 760-1421. Deadline for submitting comments is Oct. 31.