HR 1505 will be marked up in the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, and if it passes (which is likely) it will go to the full House soon. With the Tea Party apparently in charge of the House of Representatives a big swathe of northern Montana, and much of the rest of the United States, may soon be a lawless zone.
At the same time as HR 1505 is working its way through the House of Representatives, the Department of Homeland Security has just released a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for all lands and waters within 100 miles of the entire northern border, from Maine to Washington. It is extremely vague about what it is that DHS might actually want to do, or where exactly it is that they might do it. Forward operating bases are mentioned, but there is no information on whether these might be 5,000 square feet or 50 acres, built in an industrial park in Detroit or on a mountaintop in Montana. Essentially the PEIS says that DHS wants to keep all of its options open, and will decide what exactly it is that they want to do later.
You can see it here: http://www.northernborderpeis.com/
But by releasing the draft PEIS now they claim that they are getting pesky environmental compliance out of the way, so that down the line they can start cutting roads and building structures and barriers. Without any specifics about what they want to do, there is absolutely no way to evaluate the potential impacts. But that's not really the point as far as they are concerned.
The only public meeting on this in Montana will be held on October 6 in Havre at the Town House Inn.
Of course if HR 1505 passes DHS can trash the PEIS because they will no longer have to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. It may be that DHS is creating a PEIS that is so utterly inadequate because the assume that by the time the Sierra Club or anyone else sues them, Congress will have already given them the power to waive environmental laws.
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