Power Breakfast: Border Security Vs. Environment | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Power Breakfast: Border Security Vs. Environment

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One chairs a government oversight subcommittee that deals with national security. The other leads the natural resources panel that oversees public lands. Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop both say that federal environmental laws are undermining efforts to secure the southern border.

"We have big gaping holes down in Arizona for instance, where we have the Organ Pipe National Forest that is bumping up against the border and the need to have vehicles and electronic surveillance to try and secure that border," says Chaffetz.

Chaffetz says he's looking to hear from all sides: environmentalists, regulators and border patrol officers.

For his part, Bishop has done the math. "If you look at a map, ironically 51 percent of everyone we are capturing come through one sector. There's got to be a reason why all the bad guys are funneling into one sector and that's what we're going to be focusing on," Bishop says.

"My assumption is, it's because it's all federal property and there were restrictions on what the border control can do on federal property," he adds.

House Republicans in general have been making good on plans to use their majority status to increase oversight and reign in federal environmental regulation. Bishop in particular is eager to bring about a shift in priorities.

"The bottom line is, look, we've got a problem with immigration, we have a problem with drug cartels, we have a problem with prostitution rings and people being captured and people now being murdered," he says. "And Americans are being prohibited from going on American property. If that doesn't say we have to do something significantly different, screw the country, we're dead."

Environmental groups contend the conflict is overblown.

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