Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Southwest Border: More Timely Border Patrol Access and Training Could Improve Security Operations and Natural Resource Protection on Federal Lands

This Report to Congressional Requesters (GAO-11-38) dated, October 19, 2010 finds that to improve the effectiveness of Border Patrol operations while also protecting cultural and natural resources on federal lands along the southwestern border, we recommend that the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture take the following two actions:

•To help expedite Border Patrol’s access to federal lands, the agencies should, when and where appropriate, (a) enter into agreements that provide for Customs and Border Protection to use its own resources to pay for or to conduct the required environmental and historic property assessments and (b) prepare programmatic National Environmental Policy Act documents for Border Patrol activities in areas where additional access may be needed.

•As DHS, Interior, and the Forest Service continue developing a national training module on environmental and cultural resource stewardship, the agencies should incorporate the input of Border Patrol agents and land managers into the design and development of training content, which may include training that is recurring, area-specific, and provided by land managers.

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