CONGRESSIONAL INACTION JEOPARDIZES ILLEGAL DRUG ENFORCEMENT IN WHEELER COUNTY -- (House of Representatives - February 12, 2007)
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, Congress still has not passed the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act reauthorization. So what does that mean? For Wheeler County, Oregon, it means the sheriff's department will lay off a quarter of their workforce. Now, the force is only four deputies, four deputies including the sheriff, but they are responsible for patrolling 1,833 square miles. That is an area 30 times the size of the District of Columbia.
Last year, a deputy found 6,000 marijuana plants worth over $19 million spread over a quarter of a mile of Federal land. This operation was financed by Mexican drug cartels and cultivated by illegal aliens.
When my office inquired further, we found out that the deputy of Wheeler County who was out patrolling was doing so on horseback on your Federal lands. That is where he is protecting America from drug cartels and those that push this on our kids.
The sheriff says, ``Cutting these funds will increase criminal activity on our Federal lands.''
The county judge says, ``County payments has been our savior.'' And this Congress, this Congress and the last one, have failed to reauthorize county payments.
It is time you pass H.R. 17.