Rep. Napolitano Opposes Republican Lands Package
(Washington, D.C.) Today, during a floor debate in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-38) expressed her opposition to Title XIV of H.R. 2578, the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, also known as the “Border Bill”, because it threatens numerous landmark environmental laws, international water treaties, and American rights with the creation of a new 100-mile “operational control zone” on the two U.S. land borders for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Napolitano voted against the bill, which ultimately passed by a vote of 238-188.
“This is a blatant attack on the environment and the health and safety of American citizens,” Napolitano said. “This bill is an attempt to erase dozens of environmental laws disguised as a solution for immigration reform.”
The Border Bill gives DHS control of many of America’s public lands and waives 36 landmark laws protecting the environment and public health. It also authorizes DHS to deploy unmanned drones for surveillance over federal forests, hunting grounds, tribal lands, monuments, and parks where families gather for picnics, essentially turning these areas into “drone zones.”
Recently, Secretary of DHS Janet Napolitano testified before the U.S. Senate that the operational control zone is “unnecessary, and a bad policy.” Two recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also concluded that current federal laws are not an impediment to border protection, finding that federal land management and law enforcement agencies are cooperating and working well together to protect both U.S. borders and public lands.
Napolitano is the ranking member of the Water and Power Subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee.
- Link to 36 environmental laws waived by bill:
- Link to 54 organizations opposed to bill:
- The bill will cause uncertainty about how projects owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation will be managed in the “drone zone,” including 1,000 miles of canals and related water delivery infrastructure
- Affected projects include the Yuma Desalting Plant in the Colorado River system and the Federal Columbia River Power System in Washington State and Montana