U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently proposed to cut hours for four of Montana’s 16 ports of entry.
The proposal would affect ports in Morgan, Opheim, Raymond and Scobey.
The following changes would take place if the proposal is passed.
- Port of Raymond, which is currently open 24 hours, would be closed between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
- Port of Scobey, which is open from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. between June and September would change to be open year round from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Port of Morgan, which is currently open from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. during the summer, but would be open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. year round
- Port of Opheim, which is currently open from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. during the summer, but would be open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. year round
Both Montana senators have spoken out against this proposal.
In a press release, Senator Jon Tester said, “Reducing port hours always disadvantages rural America and harms our agricultural competitiveness. This abrupt decision and lack of feedback from farmers and ranchers, shippers, local communities, and our neighbors in Canada represents a deep misunderstanding of the needs of agricultural producers in rural states like Montana. By reducing hours at these ports, some farmers and ranchers will be forced to divert their shipments by significant distances. This change will be costly for these producers and could make their products less competitive in the marketplace.”
In a statement to MTN, Senator Steve Daines said, “I strongly oppose CBP’s latest attempt to reduce operating hours at Montana’s ports of entry. Montana’s largest foreign trading partner is Canada, and reducing hours at the Morgan, Opheim, Raymond, and Scobey ports of entry will harm Montana’s rural regional commerce, kill Montana jobs and impede economic opportunity. I urge CBP to realize the importance of these ports of entry to Montana’s economy and withdraw this misguided proposal.”
Senator Tester wrote a letter in opposition to the CPB’s commissioner. Senator Daines plans to do the same.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News