Border SurveillanceDemocratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch stands for a photograph on a road in Derby Line, Vt., Monday, April 5, 2021. Welch spoke at a news conference about a plan to install surveillance towers along the Vermont border with the Canadian province of Quebec. Behind him is a temporary tower on the spot where a permanent, larger tower would be located. Welch and others say they want to know more about the proposal. U.S Customs and Border Protection say the towers would provide them with more surveillance and detection capabilities along the border. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
DERBY LINE, Vt. (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to reopen the public comment period on plans to build a number of high-powered surveillance towers along Vermont's border with the Canadian province of Quebec, Vermont's congressional delegation said Friday.
U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch said in a statement that they have heard from many Vermonters in border communities with privacy concerns about the towers proposed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“We have also heard concerns about how these towers will adversely affect the natural landscape of the border communities. We share these concerns,” the delegation said, adding that the potential impacts need to be fully vetted.
The 60-day extension to the public comment period will allow Vermonters to be heard, they said. The new deadline is June 17.
The towers are proposed in an area of northern Vermont that has been used by smugglers moving south into the United States and north into Canada. The plan includes towers in Champlain, New York, and the Vermont towns of Highgate Center, Franklin, Richford, Derby, Derby Line and North Troy.
Earlier this month Welch and Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan, both Democrats, met with officials in Derby Line where one of the towers is proposed to be built.