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Great Lakes Article:

Schumer calls Great Lakes security inadequate
By Corydon Ireland and Matt Daneman
Democrat and Chronicle

— U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer charged Monday that security for the Great Lakes in an age of terror does not match the security tightened around U.S. ocean coastlines.

Schumer spoke at a Rochester Coast Guard station on the east side of the Genesee River empties into Lake Ontario.

According to Schumer, the U.S. Customs Service determined that in 2001, only 1,866 of the 18,000 boats crossing Lake Ontario reported their arrival to federal officials, as is required. Boaters headed for the United States from Canada are required by law to call a toll-free number when they arrive.

Failings like this, said Schumer, jeopardize Rochester and other Great Lakes cities whose infrastructure and population are vulnerable to terrorist attack. Schumer outlined a number of steps he said need to be taken:

  • Create a database to monitor Great Lakes boat traffic. Currently, the Customs Service only records 10 percent of boats arriving from Canada.

  • Increase security and law enforcement personnel. Only four customs agents, Schumer said, are assigned to the Rochester area.

  • Invest in new technology to monitor boat traffic on Lake Ontario and other Great Lakes. This might include sophisticated satellite and radar technology already used to monitor coastal boat traffic on America’s ocean fronts.

  • Create a regional task force for Great Lakes security. This would include the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, and county and city law enforcement agencies.

    “The motto of the post-9/11 world is that you can never be too careful,” Schumer said.
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