Posts tagged: Pacific Northwest Economic Region
Officials and experts from two nations say a United States border policy driven by concerns about terrorism and problems at the U.S.-Mexico border is disrupting operations at the nation’s borders with Canada - and hurting Pacific Northwest communities. “We’ve got a much more open border there, and we’ve got a real intense personal and commercial relationship,” said Idaho Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, whose district borders Canada in Boundary County. “We’re trying to decide what to do with the Canadian border based on what we do with the Mexican border - I think that’s wrong, because we’ve got different problems.”
As 500 officials, experts and business people from the United States and Canada gathered for the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region here to discuss cross-border economic issues including energy, agriculture and economic development, there was lots of talk about the impact of border policy changes in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Donald Alper, a Western Washington University political scientist and director of the Border Policy Research Institute, said his research shows a substantial drop-off in cross-border travel at the Canadian border with the security increases of the past eight years. He co-chaired a session on the issue on the first morning of the conference on Monday. “My personal view is it’s probably ludicrous that we’re securitizing the border with Canada to the point that we are,” he said. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
The Pacific Northwest Economic Region, a consortium of state and provincial officials from the U.S. and Canada along with government and business leaders from both nations, will hold its 19th annual “summit” meeting in Boise this year, July 12-16, the first time the organization has held its annual conference here. Gov. Butch Otter announced the conference today, saying it’s a chance to work on economic issues and “also to trade a lot of ideas.” The conference will focus on clean energy technologies, it’ll include an animal health summit and an energy institute for state and provincial lawmakers, a roundtable of university presidents from throughout the region, and an array of cross-border discussions.
A 30-member host committee has raised $100,000 in the past six months to fund the conference from more than a dozen business sponsors, including Avista, Idaho Power, Monsanto, Qwest and Batelle Energy. Attorney and lobbyist Roy Eiguren, who co-chairs the host committee with former Idaho House Speaker Bruce Newcomb, when asked how they managed to raise the money in such tough times, said, “People were generous, and we worked at it pretty hard. There’s a lot of interest in these bilateral issues.”