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In light of the environmental waivers issued by the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), can you explain what the government is doing to be responsible stewards of the environment?

In light of the environmental waivers issued by the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), can you explain what the government is doing to be responsible stewards of the environment?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) remains committed to responsible environmental stewardship. This includes the comprehensive evaluation of potential environmental impacts, thorough consultations with stakeholders, and the identification of opportunities to avoid, minimize, and, where appropriate, mitigate for impacts to sensitive resources.

Prior to initiating construction on any portion of the fence subject to a waiver, CBP conducted extensive environmental surveys, in addition to the development of a strategy for avoiding or minimizing impacts that could result from border construction or maintenance activities. The strategy involved close coordination with Native American Nations and Federal and State resource agencies, including the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs).

In response, CBP developed Environmental Stewardship Plans (ESPs) to evaluate potential impacts to sensitive resources in the areas where fence was to be constructed. CBP prepared 18 draft and final National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents prior to the waiver (Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements) and 22 ESPs after the waiver. Consistent with the NEPA process, notice of availability of these reports was provided to the public and stakeholders through the local newspapers and regional distribution.