Hagadone News Network: Bill could open up Glacier National Park to Homeland Security projects

Glacier National Park’s border with Canada is marked by broad prairies and majestic mountains. A bill in Congress cosponsored by Rep. Dennis Rehberg could conceivably allow the Department of Homeland Security to put roads and other access venues in areas currently managed as wilderness.

The proposed “National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act” would give Homeland Security broad powers over land that borders foreign countries.

According to the bill, “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall have immediate access to any public land managed by the federal government (including land managed by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture) for purposes of conducting activities that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain and construct roads, construct a fence, use vehicles to patrol, and set up monitoring equipment).”

The bill also would allow Homeland Security to waive a host of environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Park Service Organic Act. In addition to Glacier park, the bill could impact the Flathead and Kootenai national forests and Blackfeet tribal lands.

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