Notice of Availability Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment for Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of a New Joint Processing Center in El Paso, El Paso County, Texas

Notice of Availability
Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment for
Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of a New Joint Processing Center in El Paso,
El Paso County, Texas

Description: Interested parties are hereby notified that the United States (US) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has prepared a Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Proposed Action described below.

Statutory Authority: This notice is being issued to all interested parties in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 1500-1508), and DHS Directive 023-01, Rev. 01 (Implementation of NEPA).

Proposed Action: DHS proposes the construction, operation, and maintenance of a Joint Processing Center (JPC) and demobilization of an existing Central Processing Center (CPC) on a 59-acre parcel owned by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in El Paso, El Paso County, Texas. CBP previously analyzed the construction of a permanent CPC within the same parcel in the Final Environmental Assessment for a New Central Processing Facility, U.S. Border Patrol, El Paso Sector, Texas, published in July 2020. However, due to a surge in migrants that required processing, two temporary soft-sided processing facilities (SSFs) were installed. They are currently located within the parcel and support CBP efforts to process, care for, and transfer migrants and refugees.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to construct, operate, and maintain a permanent JPC and demobilize one SSF to relieve crowding in existing DHS facilities and support humanitarian efforts along the U.S. southwestern border, such as ensuring the security, placement, and successful transition of migrants and refuges. The Proposed Action is needed to efficiently process migrants and ease overcrowding at existing processing centers. The existing SSFs are costly and inadequately equipped to accommodate the increasing number of migrants. The Proposed Action would allow multiple DHS Components to operate at the same location.
The Draft SEA evaluates the potential environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, and physical impacts of two action alternatives and the No Action Alternative. Alternative 1 would implement the Proposed Action as described. Alternative 2 would incorporate net-zero technologies into the Proposed Action. The Draft SEA concludes there would be no significant adverse impact to the environment or quality of life as a result of implementing the Proposed Action, provided best management practices specified in the SEA are implemented.

Public Review: DHS would like to solicit public input or comments on the Draft SEA and the Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which will be available for a 30-day public comment period from August 25, 2023, through September 24, 2023. The Draft SEA can be accessed online at: www.dhs.gov/nepa.

Comments: Comments on the Draft SEA and Draft FONSI or inquiries regarding the document should be submitted during the 30-day comment period by emailing [email protected]. Comments on the Draft SEA and Draft FONSI may also be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Facilities and Asset Management, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 1555N, Mail Stop 1102, Washington, DC 20229-1102, Attn: John Petrilla.