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Letter: GSA carefully followed the law in review of bridge plaza work

GSA carefully followed the law in review of bridge plaza work

We want to be clear about the General Services Administration’s role in the Peace Bridge plaza expansion, the subject of recent stories in The News.

GSA conducted an environmental review of the warehouse lease amendment in November 2012, and we ensured that we were carefully following the law.  Our thorough analysis found that this limited action, the amendment of this lease, did not pose a threat to health and the environment. The warehouse project is not increasing the number of truck bays nor is it expected to increase the number of truck inspections at the facility. Additionally, GSA’s 35-page environmental review was shared with local stakeholders when it was completed in 2012.

Any expansion projects would be funded, managed and would continue to be owned by the Peace Bridge Authority. GSA has no authority over the proposed expansion at the Peace Bridge, nor would GSA have any role in a decision to redirect truck traffic to another bridge.

Again, our role at the plaza was limited to a lease amendment and a review of a renovation of the existing warehouse that allows federal agencies to accommodate truck inspections.

In regard to environmental justice, in 2012 a GSA employee did briefly try to initiate a broader environmental justice review of aspects of the Peace Bridge. However, because GSA’s involvement was focused solely on the lease of the warehouse, we decided that a broader environmental justice review was not warranted at that time. There was nothing we were keeping from our stakeholders because nothing was final.

If and when additional proposals to expand the Peace Bridge plaza become concrete, additional review by GSA and other federal agencies will likely occur to determine what level of environmental review would be needed in these expansion plans. GSA is committed to helping federal agencies with their real estate needs, while also being a good steward to the environment and a good neighbor to local communities.

Denise Pease

Regional Administrator

General Services Administration