Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition of Representative Bishop's amendment in H.R. 2578, the Conservation and Economic Growth Act.
This amendment would give the Department of Homeland Security unrestrained authority over more than 49 million acres of land encompassing major regions heavily populated by Latinos.
These new ``operational control zones'' would harm communities economically, socially, and environmentally.
DHS would be explicitly exempt from complying with dozens of environmental, public health, and safety laws within 100 miles along the Mexican and Canadian borders.
Even Secretary Napolitano and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol indicated that environmental protections do not hinder their ability to secure our borders.
This amendment proves to be unnecessary and a threat to our public health.
Also, it jeopardizes the natural parks and public lands that many people use as recreation across our nation.
I understand our nation faces many challenges, but this is no way to enhance border security.
We must respect the liberty of all Americans, enjoy our natural landscape, and ensure every person's right to a healthy life.
I urge my colleagues to vote against Representative Bishop's amendment.