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SELF, JEFFREY D AGUILAR, DAVID V; COLBURN, RONALD S; (b) FW: Meeting with Thad Bingel Thursday, December 20, 2007 11:19:25 AM


Chief, Thad scheduled a meeting to discuss issues pertaining to PF-225 scheduled for tomorrow. In addition to what was on the radar screen for discussion I'm sure we will now strategize on the below. This one is a lot easier to comprehend if you start at the bottom and read up from there. Jeff -----Original Message----From: (b) (6) Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:19 AM To: (b) (6) ADAMS, ROWDY D; (b) (6) SELF, JEFFREY D; GEPHART, GREG A Cc: (b) (6) Subject: RE: Meeting with Thad Bingel Yes, they are asking for us to stop the current process, consult with them, take the new Congressional directives into account, and then do a new EIS based on what they expect to be a different project. An article is below; note - there is a reference to an incoming letter to S1.

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----------------------------------------------------------------------------Border mayors call for immediate withdrawal of draft EIS By Steve Taylor and Joey Gomez

BROWNSVILLE, December 20 - Border mayors have called on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to immediately withdraw the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Rio Grande Valley border fence plan in the light of a new congressional mandate. On Thursday, the House and Senate passed an omnibus spending plan that overrides a number of the


provisions contained in the 2006 Secure Fence Act. Congress no longer requires that two layers of fencing be erected and does not specify where barriers should be build. The omnibus bill also states that alternative tactical infrastructure can be considered. And, Chertoff must not only engage with border communities on the location and type of barrier to be erected, he must report back to Congress on how the consultations are going. If this is not done, up to half of the funds allocated for the fence could be withheld. “The draft EIS categorically rejects all suggested alternatives to the department’s proposed route and construction of the border wall in the Rio Grande Valley sector,” said Texas Border Coalition Chair and Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster. “To leave that document pending (or worse, to continue its completion) during the consultative process would predetermine the outcome, which should be unacceptable to all parties involved.” Section 564 of the Homeland Security section of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill reads: * Homeland Security will not be required to install fencing, barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, or sensors in any particular location along the border without a determination that the use or placement of the resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the border. * The location of the fence will be determined by the Homeland Security Secretary based upon a determination of where it would be “most practical and effective in deterring smugglers and aliens attempting to gain illegal entry.” * No longer require 2 layers of fencing * Before building the fence, the Department of Homeland Security must now consult with “the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, States, local governments, Indian tribes, and property owners…to minimize the impact on the environment, culture, commerce, and quality of life for the communities and residents located near the sites at which such fencing is to be constructed.” * States, local governments, and other people affected by the fence will not lose any right of legal action due to the new legislation. The changes delighted the TBC, which comprises border mayors, county judges and business leaders from El Paso to Brownsville. As soon as Congress passed the omnibus bill, Foster fired off a letter to Chertoff demanding that DHS comply with the new consultation requirements. Valley leaders have complained bitterly that Border Patrol developed a plan to build 70 miles of fencing in the Valley without any input from elected officials. No town hall meetings have taken place and the three recent “open house” events staged by DHS in Brownsville, McAllen, and Rio Grande City have been derided as little more than a publicity stunt. Foster said the TBC wants a scoping meeting with DHS officials in Washington, D.C., during the week of Jan. 21, 2008, followed by a series of meetings beginning the first week of February in each of the counties affected by the proposed wall. At the end of that consultation process in April, Foster said, TBC


wants a meeting between DHS, elected officials and state permitting agencies in Austin. “We have long contended that it would be counter-productive for Washington to dictate the design and location of a 700-mile fence without consultation with state and local officials or consideration of viable alternatives,” Foster wrote, in his letter to Chertoff. Foster pointed out that over the past several months, border communities have proposed a number of alternatives to improve border security “without incurring the cost and headaches that a Washingtondictated solution would create over private property rights and environmental concerns.” Among those alternatives are a combined levee-fence plan that would also fix the Valley’s crumbling levees, and the development of the Brownsville Weir project. The TBC is largely giving credit for the changes to the border fence provisions in the omnibus bill to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio. Both are on their respective appropriations committees. Rodriguez took part in a private teleconference call with TBC members Wednesday afternoon. Also taking part were Hutchison staffer Beto Cardenas and Texas’ Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw. Among the border leaders on the conference call were Foster, El Paso Mayor John Cook, Del Rio Mayor Efrain Valdez, McAllen city manager Mike Perez, and the co-chair of the TBC’s immigration committee, McAllen businesswoman Monica Weisberg-Stewart. “It was a very positive conference call and we thanked Congressman Rodriguez and Senator Hutchison for their help in changing the border wall language,” said one participant in the conference call. “We also appreciate the fact that they are going to get a study done on border wait times and congestion at our ports of entry.” That person asked for anonymity. During the conference call, Foster said the TBC stood behind the findings of a Congressional Accountability Office report which said 4,000 more customs officers were needed at border ports of entry. The omnibus bill includes funding for an extra 200. Hutchison offered her thoughts on the changes to the border fence legislation via a satellite link to border media outlets Wednesday. “I believe the Border Patrol is doing a great job in working with local communities, and landowners to make sure they are consulted about the types of fencing and where the fencing will go. We are all committed to border security, and we need to bring our local governments and citizens into the process and that is what will be assured with the language that is in the bill.” Asked by reporters in Washington, D.C., why Hutchison had pushed her amendment, Hutchison spokesman Matt Mackowiak said: “Senator Hutchinson believes that local customs and border officials know better what we need to secure the border than a congressman from Maine would.” In a Washington Times story Friday headlined “Spending bill shrinks border fence,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, blasts the border fence plan changes.


“The fact that this was buried in a bloated, 3,500-page omnibus speaks volumes about the Democrats' unserious approach on border security and illegal immigration,” Boehner said. “Gutting the Secure Fence Act will make our borders less secure, but it's consistent with the pattern of behavior we've seen all year from this majority.” -----Original Message----From: (b) (6) Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:03 AM To: (b) (6) ; ADAMS, ROWDY D; (b) (6) ; SELF, JEFFREY D; GEPHART, GREG A Cc: (b) (6) Subject: Re: Meeting with Thad Bingel What's particularly interesting/relevant to what were trying to do this week, is that the Texas Border Coalition has apparently asked that we withdraw our Draft RGV EIS? Am I reading that correctly? I don't fully understand the environmental process, but it seems to me the TBC would want to see the public feedback from the EIS process to inform their discussions with them. Are the comments on EISs available to the public? ----- Original Message ----From: (b) (6) To: (b) (6) ; ADAMS, ROWDY D; (b) (6) SELF, JEFFREY D; GEPHART, GREG A Cc: (b) (6) Sent: Thu Dec 20 08:58:02 2007 Subject: RE: Meeting with Thad Bingel FYI -- some added context for tomorrow's meeting: Border group urges consultation required in spending bill 12/19/2007 Associated Press (AP) - Austin Bureau WASHINGTON_The Texas Border Coalition is urging Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to consult with them and other government agencies on a border fence as required in a spending bill Congress approved this week. The group says it is sending a letter with the request shortly after the House gave final approval to the sweeping spending bill Wednesday. That bill requires the department to consult with local communities and officials, government agencies and Indian tribes on ways to reduce the environmental and cultural impact of the fence. The border group is asking for a series of consultation meetings with Chertoff to begin January 21st and end in April. The group says it also wants Chertoff to withdraw a draft environmental impact statement for the fence to ensure the consultation will be authentic. Bush has signaled he will sign the bill. ________________________________ From: (b) (6) Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:23 PM To: (b) (6) ; ADAMS, ROWDY D; (b) (6) SELF, JEFFREY D; GEPHART, GREG A Cc: (b) (6) Subject: Meeting with (b) (6)


Good Afternoon All-

Please mark your calendars for a meeting with the Chief of Staff re: Discussion of PF225 Stakeholder Input: Current Status and Next Steps on Friday, Dec. 21 at 11am (or after Senior Staff). This meeting will be in the Small Conference Room.


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Rowdy Adams

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Jeff Self Greg Gephart

For anyone unable to attend please advise!

Thank you,

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Office of the Chief of Staff- CBP

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