Julian Aguilar
The Texas Tribune
November 4, 2011

Environmental groups are fighting a proposal that would grant U.S. Customs and Border Protection greater authority to operate in public parks and on environmentally protected land, saying it would circumvent regulations designed to protect natural resources.

The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, authored by Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior from enacting environmental regulations that hinder the operations of the CBP on public lands within 100 miles of the U.S. border. It was voted out of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources last month — with “yes” votes from Republican Texas Reps. Louie Gohmert and Bill Flores.

The bill, Bishop said, “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.”

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