February 2, 2010Commissioner Edward Drusina, P.E.United States Section, International Boundary Water Commission (USIBWC)The Commons, Building C, Suite 100El Paso, Texas 79902Dear Commissioner DrusinaFirst, congratulations on your recent appointment. I look forward to working with youand maintaining the strong cooperative working relationship our agencies have had overthe last several years.With regards to your letter dated January 21
and our proposed border security fencingprojects O-1, O-2 and O-3, these primary pedestrian fence segments are very important toour Nation’s security as well as the safety of the nearby local communities. The fencesegments represent Border Patrol’s current number one priority relative to new tacticalinfrastructure construction in the Nation and were included in former SecretaryChertoff’s April 2008 waiver of applicable environmental and land management laws andregulations. The areas in which the fence segments are proposed are currently subjectedto extensive illegal border activity including illegal immigrant crossings and drugtrafficking. The proposed fencing must be built to provide constant persistent impedanceto these activities.For over three (3) years we have been working closely with the USIBWC on thesesegments trying to identify alignments that would be operationally effective from aborder security perspective while having minimal impacts on the floodplain of the RioGrand River. Numerous fence alignments have been evaluated and multiple floodplainstudies prepared based in part on direction received from your last three (3) predecessors.On January 6
, several of our senior leaders met with former Commissioner Ruth, Mr.Tuttle from the Department of State, and members of your staff regarding our currentproposed fence alignments and the associated floodplain impacts. At that meeting,Commissioner Ruth acknowledged that from a “practical perspective” the proposed fencealignments would have a negligible impact on the floodplain and the internationalboundary, and agreed to meet “informally” with the Commissioner of the MexicanSection of the IBWC to see if he would support the projects given that there would be noincrease in water surface elevations or deflection of flow relative to Mexico exceedingthe thresholds set by USIBWC and described below.