Our local affiliate of NBC – channel 13 – has recently presented a very misleading advertisement regarding House Resolution 1505 (HRI505) claiming it is a “Power Grab” by the federal government. The promoters of this mis-information claim that the public will be locked out of federal lands. Nothing could be further from the truth.
1. The bill doesn’t create any new federal authority. It simply clarifies that the Border Patrol will have access to federal lands near the borders to facilitate border security. Securing our borders will aid the environment aside from reducing drug imports into the United States. The legislation is strictly designed to end the practice of using environmental laws to impede Border Patrol Access to federal land.
2. Congressman Rehberg added an amendment to this legislation that strictly limits activity to procedures necessary to secure the borders. It protects existing legal uses such as hunting, grazing. mining, and recreation. Federal land will continue to be managed by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture.
3. H.R. 1505 will not harm the environment. To the contrary it will reduce, and hopefully eliminate, activities by illegal drug cartels and criminal enterprises which are severely impacting the environment and endangered species. The absence of law enforcement is causing thousands of miles of illegal trails, trash, abandoned vehicles, and human waste left behind by illegal border crossers.
4. Securing our borders is actually good for the environment because it will reduce abuse by persons who have no concerns for our wildlands. H.R.1505 bill doesn’t create any new authority to intrude into the lives of United States citizens.