RealNews

Audit: Forests' Borders Aren't Patrolled

The U.S. Forest Service has only a small number of officers patrolling the 1,000 miles of border on national forest land adjoining Canada and Mexico, a government audit finds. The Agriculture Department inspector general’s audit said that even though the Forest Service has limited staff and authority, it should come up with a plan to improve coverage of national forests near the borders. “Border security is an essential element of national security, especially in light of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,” auditors said in the report released Wednesday. The Forest Service oversees areas “that are potentially vulnerable to infiltration by terrorists, smugglers and other criminal agents,” the auditors said. The Forest Service has just 620 officers to monitor the 196.1 million acres of national forest lands. A “relatively small number” of officers monitor 460 miles along the border of Canada and 60 miles bordering Mexico, auditors said, and nearly 450 miles of Alaska land that borders Canada is unpatrolled. Full Story

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