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Public Meeting: BEP Relocating to BARC

Today please join the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an important public meeting on the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC):

Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Location: BARC Building 003, Auditorium

Can’t attend? Here’s an opportunity for you to submit comments. Visit http://bit.ly/BARCComments and submit comments online through 12/15.

The proposed site is located in Beltsville between Powder Mill and Odell Roads. Here is the most current information we have on the project:

Current BEP Facility in Washington, D.C.

BEP’s current District of Columbia facility is located at 301 14th St. SW in Washington, D.C. The DC facility consists of the Main building constructed in 1914 that houses currency production operations, and an Annex constructed in 1938 that houses raw material, storage, and research and development operations.

The DC facility, along with operations at the newer production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, which was constructed in 1990, design and print all U.S. paper money and several other federal security products.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) (view report)  confirmed that the District’s aging facility is not suitable for modern-day currency production and lacks the flexibility for new processes required to support currency redesign efforts and new anti-counterfeit security feature development and manufacture. GAO also confirmed that a replacement production facility is the most economical solution.

Replacement BEP Facility Requirements and Proposal

The Federal Reserve Board requires the replacement facility to have appropriate access to interstate roadways and commercial air carriers. Opportunities also include improved physical security, better parking facilities and a net reduction in BEP’s current operational footprint.

The facility is also required to be located within the National Capital Region (NCR). The NCR encompasses Washington, D.C; Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties in Virginia; and the incorporated cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, and Manassas in Virginia.

The United States Department of Agriculture and Congress support the development of the proposed facility on an unused, previously developed approximately 100-acre site at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the transfer of this specific land parcel to the Department of Treasury for use by BEP to construct a replacement currency production facility.

BEP’s intent is to design and construct a smaller, more efficient currency production facility. If the proposed replacement facility is constructed, the existing Main building at the DC facility would be modernized as a separate effort and remain BEP’s administrative headquarters, while the existing 796,000 square-foot Annex would be returned to the General Services Administration as surplus property.

In accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill, a formal land transfer between the Treasury and USDA is pending completion of required studies, outlined below.

BEP’s proposal includes construction beginning in approximately 2022.

Army Corps Role, Environmental Analyses, and Timeline

The Army Corps Role

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed an interagency agreement with BEP in March 2019 to coordinate this replacement effort to include environmental assessments and design and construction oversight for the Main facility (to include non-production equipment, furnishings and IT systems) and supporting structures, parking and stormwater management facilities, roadway access and improvements, utility connections, security systems and access control.

National Environmental Policy Act

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and the Department of the Treasury NEPA regulations require BEP to consider the potential environmental impacts of its proposed actions and alternatives and to solicit the views of the public in order to make an informed final decision regarding how to proceed.

Through the NEPA process, the Army Corps is thoroughly analyzing BEP’s proposal to determine potential land use, ecological, cultural, water resources, social, public health and safety, air quality, aesthetics, noise, lighting, traffic and other impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed replacement facility. Cumulative environmental effects will also be analyzed.

The Army Corps will document these analyses in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as well as other reasonable site alternatives to accomplish the purpose and need for this action. Mitigation measures will be presented in the EIS to offset potential adverse impacts to natural and cultural resources on the land, as well as potential impacts to the public, such as increased traffic in the area.

The Army Corps will perform necessary field investigations to collect baseline information on the natural, cultural and human environments within the proposal area, including collecting soil samples, delineating wetlands, performing archaeological and wastewater surveys, a transportation study, and more.

NEPA Timeline and Public Review

The NEPA public scoping process began Nov. 15, 2019, with the Federal Register publication of a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS, initiating a 30-day public comment period. A public open house is scheduled for Dec. 3. The intent of this meeting is to solicit input, concerns and ideas from the public, including Regulatory agencies. Public input will be integrated into the EIS and will help focus the analyses.

The Draft EIS is anticipated for completion and public review in fall 2020, and the Final EIS is anticipated for completion and public review in spring 2021, although these dates are subject to change based on a variety of factors. The public will have at least 45 days to review and comment on the Draft EIS and at least 30 days to review and comment on the Final EIS. BEP and the Army Corps will hold a public meeting during the Draft EIS public review period. Substantive comments provided by the public on the Draft EIS will be addressed in the Final EIS. The final Record of Decision is anticipated to be published in summer 2021.

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