Due to some inventive administrative maneuvers, New York State and New York City secured a federal government contract to rent Floyd Bennett Field. This arrangement allows them to accommodate up to 2,000 asylum seekers starting in late August.
The no-longer operational airfield in Brooklyn is situated within the Gateway National Recreation Area, prompting worries among conservative legislators that the airfield’s lease might contravene the National Environmental Policy Act.
On November 13, Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR), who leads the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ), leading the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, reached out by sending a letter to Brenda Mallory, the head of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). In their communication, they sought information regarding the Biden administration’s choice to lease Floyd Bennett Field to New York officials.
Currently, the committees led by these Republican lawmakers are examining the legal implications associated with accommodating migrants/asylum seekers on federal land.
Westerman and Gosar voiced their apprehension upon discovering that the National Park Service (NPS) actively pursued and secured alternative arrangements, facilitated by the CEQ, to guarantee the lease’s alignment with the National Environmental Policy Act.
The chairs of the committees mentioned that the CEQ ultimately endorsed the plan, clearing the path for the NPS and the US Department of the Interior (DOI) to move forward with the contract.
Westerman and Gosar granted Mallory a deadline until the conclusion of November to furnish documents and information. This was aimed at aiding them in ensuring the proficient administration of national lands for the temporary or permanent housing of asylum seekers/migrants.
The lawmakers wrapped up their communication by emphasizing to Mallory their jurisdiction under House Rule X, granting them the ability to carry out thorough oversight of the management of federal lands.