06.03.10

Leahy: DHS Agrees To Close Morses Line Border Crossing

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy announced Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has agreed with his request to close the border crossing at Morses Line.  The closure process will involve a public comment period, extensive consultations with stakeholders, and further assessments on safety and traffic patterns -- steps that Secretary Napolitano estimates will likely take a year to complete.

In a letter to Napolitano after a DHS public meeting on May 23 requested by Leahy, the Vermont senator noted that public comments at the meeting were against building a new port of entry facility at the U.S.-Canada crossing in Franklin County, which would have meant the forced purchase of farm property from a Vermont farm family that opposes the project.

Leahy said, “Maintaining an entry port at Morses Line was far less complicated in an earlier era, but the security needs of today would require many improvements.  Meeting today’s security standards for this port, which handles very little traffic, would cost more than $5 million and require the forced taking of a farmer’s property.  The decision to close it is an appropriate conclusion to this process.  Closing this seldom-used crossing solves that dilemma, saves taxpayers’ money and protects the Rainville family’s farmland.”

“I appreciate Secretary Napolitano’s leadership and responsiveness,” Leahy continued.  “She agreed to my request to hold a public meeting in Vermont on this proposal, she agreed to listen to Vermonters, and she agreed to promptly make an informed decision.  She kept her word.”

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