Home > newsroom > Page
Committee Passes Bill to Increase Border Security on Federal Lands


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2011 - Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, by a vote of 26 to 17. The bill prohibits the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using environmental regulations to hinder U.S. Border Patrol from securing our border on federal lands.

“H.R. 1505 is a common sense solution that addresses one of the prevailing issues preventing us from gaining full operational control of the border - the U.S. Border Patrol’s lack of sufficient access to millions of acres of federally owned land. We are now one step closer to ensuring that Border Patrol has the necessary access to deter and apprehend dangerous criminals that have long used our federal lands for safe passage into the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues as this bill is considered further and ultimately brought to the floor of the House for a final vote,” said National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01).

“Today, a majority of our Committee has voted to prioritize national security over bureaucratic red tape,” said Chairman Hastings. “Border Patrol has become encumbered with layers of environmental regulations and procedural hurdles that inhibit them from being able to do their job efficiently and effectively. As a result, our public lands are specifically targeted by criminals, drug smugglers and human traffickers who damage the environment and endanger American lives. This committee will not ignore the tragic consequences and exploitation that is occurring due to the porous border on federal land. H.R. 1505 ensures that Border Patrol can do their job by creating an effective deterrent to the smugglers and criminals that have thought nothing of destroying our public lands.”

National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act:

  • Prohibits the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from impeding, prohibiting or restricting the work of the Border Patrol on public lands within 100 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico and Canada.
  • Allows Border Patrol agents access to federal lands for the following activities: maintain and construct patrol roads; construct fences; use vehicles to patrol, install, set up and maintain surveillance equipment and sensors; use aircraft; and deploy temporary tactical infrastructure, including forward operating bases.
  • Extends the same environmental waiver authority found in the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 exercised by DHS Secretary Chertoff in 2008 to construct U.S.-Mexico border fence. Through that authority, it prevents environmental regulations and lawsuits from impeding U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s ability to prevent unlawful entries into the United States.
  • Sunsets after five-years from the date it is enacted in order to allow Congress the opportunity to evaluate its effectiveness.

###

Printable PDF of this document


Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

Latest News

Bishop: FWS Mimics EPA Tactics in Expansive Critical Habitat Proposal

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service announced the finalization of a new policy for defining and designating critical habitat under the Endangered Specie...... Read more

Committee Advances Bipartisan “National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Act”

Today, the Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3036 (Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-NJ), the “National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Act,” legislation designating the National September 11 Mem...... Read more

New York Times: How Free Electricity Helped Dig $9 Billion Hole in Puerto Rico

To understand how Puerto Rico’s power authority has piled up $9 billion in debt, one need only visit this bustling city on the northwest coast. Twenty years ago, it was just another town with dwindlin...... Read more

View All News

Calendar

The Costly Impacts of Predation and Conflicting Federal Statutes on Native and Endangered Fish Species
Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans | 1334 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 87, H.R. 295, H.R. 1621 and H.R. 2817
Subcommittee on Federal Lands | 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
View All Events