CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of Commissioner Troy A. Miller delivered the following remarks at the inaugural Green Trade Forum at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office July 11 in Alexandria, Virginia
Good morning, everyone. It’s my first time here at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. What a beautiful facility, right? It’s awesome and I thank them so much for them hosting this event.
Thank you for the kind introduction and thank you, everyone, both here and online for joining us for our inaugural Green Trade Forum. And AnnMarie, the team has done just a great job putting this together. And really, the agenda just proves how important this initiative is for all of us.
I hope you enjoyed hearing from my esteemed Australian Border Force colleague, Kimberlee Stamatis. It is encouraging to hear from our like-minded partners about how they are addressing challenges presented by global climate change and its impact on customs missions worldwide. Climate change is both, as we all have been discussing this morning, is both a national and economic security threat.
As you heard earlier, several executive orders reflect the U.S. government's recognition that this crisis is central to U.S. foreign policy, national security, and our border operations. In fact, NATO recognizes climate change as ‘a defining challenge of our time with a profound impact on our allies security.’ The business of trade is no exception. We cannot conduct cross-border trade in our facilities, infrastructure and our global supply chains will not withstand climate and environmental impacts. If we fail to prepare, the consequences could be devastating. But we all know we can overcome these challenges together.
We have heard a lot about the Green Trade Strategy’s goals from our Executive Assistant Commissioner Highsmith. I want to highlight how CBP is doing our part to achieve these goals. CBP's Green Trade Strategy aligns with broader efforts by the Department of Homeland Security, supporting a whole of government approach to addressing the impacts of climate change on the trade mission.
As you heard earlier, CBP recognizes the importance of making our operational footprint greener. CBP has established metrics to measure the environmental impact of our activities, in line with federal reporting requirements, and is in the process of establishing additional green trade targets and metrics.
For example, in Fiscal Year 2022, CBP achieved a 69.6 percent reduction in scope one and two greenhouse gas emissions from our Fiscal Year 2008 baseline value. This achievement nearly doubled our original goal to reduce emissions by 38 percent.
But we have a lot more to do in 2022. CBP’s top three reported scope 1 and 2 emissions sources were associated with purchased electricity, fleet, and building fuel consumption. We continue to assess and reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions at facilities with the greatest amount of annual energy consumption, and at facilities that combust fuels onsite for heating, cooling, and other energy needs.
We also continue to implement measures to bring our real estate portfolio to net zero or close to net zero. For instance, CBP is working to execute an energy savings performance contract involving more than 75 CBP facilities across 15 states and Puerto Rico. This project will improve energy conservation at roughly 6 percent of our 1,245 buildings. Facility improvements will include more efficient lighting, upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, water conservation measures, and photovoltaic solar panel installation.
CBP will execute two specialized projects funded by Department of Energy grants. For the first project, CBP and our vendor will focus on the essential lighting solutions that improve essential performance and minimize lifecycle based lifecycle costs.
For the second project, CBP will build a PV solar panel array and battery energy storage system at Ramey Border Patrol headquarters in Puerto Rico to improve the facility's resilience to hurricanes and other natural disasters. CBP has several examples of net zero facilities, including Border Patrol stations in California, Idaho, Texas and Washington State.
The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry and San Diego is a partnership between CBP and GSA to improve sustainability of CBP-occupied facilities. San Ysidro, the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, is the first GSA facility to achieve three lead—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certifications.
Currently, 35% of CBP’s real estate portfolio meets federal High-Performance Sustainable Building standards. We are committed to achieving even greater levels of sustainability. Modernization efforts funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. We are underway to upgrade 26 land border ports of entry to be more sustainable, energy efficient, and meet federal green building requirements.
CBP is also purchasing electric vehicles and charging stations. By 2030, our goal is to have 50% of the CBP vehicle fleet compromised of EVs. This will reduce our fossil fuel resilience, lower our greenhouse gas emissions, and create a more resilient fleet and infrastructure. Finally, we are using technological investment and better data to ensure both operational efficiencies and environmental benefits.
A couple more examples. We are conducting a port emissions modeling and analysis study through the Department of Energy's National Laboratories. The study will provide a baseline model for current commercial truck greenhouse gas emissions at land ports of entry and offer recommendations to reduce overall emissions and boost cargo processing efficiency.
Furthermore, we have deployed our Truck Manifest Modernization program, an advanced electronic manifest, cut border wait times and reduce emissions from idling vehicles. Preliminary results showed that average processing times in primary inspection have been reduced from two minutes to about 30 seconds for more than 99% of the 45-50,000 trucks released daily. Before, less than 40 percent of truck manifests were processed in that short amount of time.
CBP is also digitizing our remaining manual and paper-based compliance processes. We are investing in the development of digital supply chain technologies, and will help CBP and broader trade community trace and verify the origin, composition, and environmental impact of the products. Lastly, we are collaborating with DHS Science and Technology to invest in green innovation research, including potential future prize competitions.
Tackling climate change requires a worldwide coordinated effort between the public and private sector. Today's participants are a great example of how we can come together and do just that. CBP is currently partnering with the Department of Transportation, the American Association of Port Authorities, the International Task Force on Port Call Optimization, and the International Port Community Systems Association to develop an open-source Port Community Information System. This system is being designed to optimize port business processing to reduce related greenhouse gas emissions.
Our work with our interagency partners also includes enforcement of the United States Mexico Canada agreement provisions that prevent natural resource crimes, such as illegal deforestation, and timber logging; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and wildlife trafficking.”
In January 2022, CBP and Environmental Protection Agency initiated the Interagency Task Force on Illegal Hydrofluorocarbon trade to detect, deter and disrupt illegal importation of hydrofluorocarbons into the United States. CBP and EPA issued letters of denial, stopping illegal shipments to more than 889,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which equates to emission from nearly 173,000 homes based on electric electricity usage for one year.
CBP is also working with NGOs to target natural resource crimes and illicit trade and to strategically envision for the future. Our partnerships include collaboration with C4ADS, who we are excited to have here today, as well as the Environmental Investigative Agency, World Wildlife Fund, Global Fishing Watch, and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.”
CBP, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Department of State are currently coordinating to expand enforcement activities to target illegal logging operations in Brazil, which threatens the Amazon. We are also partnering with Global Fishing Watch to deter illegal fishing by improving visibility into fishing vessel locations, and we are working with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership on a project in the Baja California Protected Zone to save the endangered totoaba fish and the vaquita porpoise.
And on that note, just this last April, CBP officers in the Area Port of Nogales in Arizona partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to seize 242 pounds, of protected Totoaba swim bladders, worth an estimated $2.7 million. This is the second largest seizure of this kind in the United States. These bladders should have never been harvested, which is why we continue to ramp up our enforcement efforts with our partners.
What's next? I would like to highlight our global customs partnerships. I would especially like to thank Assistant Secretary Stamatis again and her colleagues at the Australian Border Force for her message today and for joining us in recognizing the impact of climate change to our customs mission.
We are also grateful for the work being advanced with multilateral forums like the World Customs Organization to define the global scope and degree of green customs. In fact, we are contributing to the WCO’s Green Customs Action Plan, which will be launched later this year.
Going forward, CBP will implement new initiatives to achieve green trade goals. Our plans include:
- reviewing the existing authorized economic, economic operator programs,
- surveying and collaborating with international organizations and governments, such as the WCO and the European Union, and
- engaging with industry partners, NGOs, and academic institutions to solicit ideas and perspectives.
With the Green Trade Strategy, CBP is setting an example for customs authorities around the world to develop greater standards for global trade and collaborate with industry, stakeholder stakeholders and the public. We are uniquely positioned to promote a global green trade environment through cutting-edge practices and enforcement. We want to hear from you. Continue to hear from you, our trade stakeholders, our other government partners, to generate meaningful incentives. It is one of the primary reasons we are here today.
Together, we will develop higher global standards for green trade to create a sustainable future that withstands climate change.
Thank you so much for having me.