Canada plans to keep port closed, Tester recommends closure of Port of Whitetail

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, today released the following statement regarding his recommendation on the future of the Port of Whitetail in northeastern Montana:

“When I met with nearly one hundred Montanans in Scobey earlier this month, there was no clear consensus on the future of the Port of Whitetail.  Some folks felt upgrading the port was the right move, but others felt it was too expensive.

“Two years ago, when the federal government began moving forward with plans to strengthen the Port of Whitetail, there were no plans by Canada to close its side of the border.  Canada unexpectedly decided to close its side just this summer.   The Canadian government is still working with the U.S. government to discuss options, but I understand those options don’t include plans to re-open the Canadian side, or to have a joint port with access for Montana trucks headed to Canada.

“Because we cannot keep open an insufficient port that does not meet America’s post-9/11 security needs, and because we can’t upgrade a one-way port into Canada, I have recommended to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection that he close the Port of Whitetail.

“The last thing this complicated issue needs is politicians, armed with Washington talking points, shooting from the hip.  This is a difficult decision that affects an entire community and it deserves careful consideration.  I made my decision after gathering the facts, talking with leaders and consulting with the public.  And I look forward to a long-term solution that’s in the best interest for America’s security, strong infrastructure, and Montana jobs.”

Tester, along with officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, hosted a public discussion session in Scobey September 7 to hear from locals about the future of the Port of Whitetail.