By Brendan Straub Published by the Channel 7 News on Feb 25, 2022
Click here to view the video interview.
FISHERS LANDING, New York (WWNY) – Some organizations along the St. Lawrence River are up in arms over a new proposed U-S Customs and Border Protection station near Fishers Landing.
“This is going to change the footprint of this bay forever.”
Jeff Garnsey, President of the Board of Directors for Save The River, is talking about Blind Bay, a small waterway connected to the St. Lawrence.
The bay is connected to a portion of land in the town of Orleans. That land has now become the proposed location for the new Customs and Border Protection station> Customs and Border Protection has long operated out of a station on Wellesley Island, but has outgrown its offices there.
Garnsey says building near Blind Bay would hurt the ecosystem.
“This particular project could impact up to 20 percent of the viable spawning grounds (for fish) that we have in this part of the St. Lawrence River,” he said.
The Department of Homeland Security indicated in a report that Blind Bay is the best space for the facility.
The report says the current station on Wellesley Island is unstable and lacks the space for future expansion.
The new facility would allow space for 75 agents and the construction of a 17,000 square foot building with dock and ramp space.
Save The River is against the move. Executive Director John Peach sent a letter to Customs and Border Protection outlining their concerns, and he says the community feels the same way.
“After we sent that letter out, within a couple of hours, we already had 70 people hit on the link to send in their concerns to the Border Patrol too,” Peach said.
A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection tells 7 News it’s very early in the process. An environmental assessment is still being done and will be circulated to the public for review and comment once completed.