Homeland Security agrees to Tester’s push for public input on Port of Whitetail

At Senator’s request, agency halts reconstruction of northern port to hear from local Montanans

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Following a request by Senator Jon Tester, U.S. Customs and Border Protection today agreed to temporarily halt work rebuilding the Port of Whitetail in order to gather public input from local Montanans on the project.

Tester spoke today with Customs Commissioner Alan Bersin and requested that the agency stop work to consider the ramifications of closure of the Canadian side of the port while listening to local input. Tester made his request after the Canadian government announced this week its unilateral decision to close the Canadian side of the Port in April 2011.

The agency agreed to pause work on the project until September 1, 2010 allowing more opportunity for public input and to continue discussions with the Canadian government.

“Commissioner Bersin and I had a good talk,” Tester said. “We discussed the need to take a timeout to get public input given Canada’s decision. This allows us to figure out what’s next in a way that’s right for trade in northeast Montana and for our security needs, in a way that’s careful about spending taxpayer dollars. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with folks in Daniels County, Commissioner Bersin and the Canadian government to make sure this gets done right.”