Monday, May 17, 2010

Vt. farmer draws a line at US bid to bolster border

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Clement Rainville (right) and his family at Morses Line, part of Franklin, Vt. They say they need to keep the land to grow hay for their farm’s dairy herd.

The Department of Homeland Security sees Morses Line as a weak link in the nation’s borders, attractive to terrorists trying to smuggle in lethal materials. The government is planning an estimated $8 million renovation here as part of a nationwide effort to secure border crossings.

It intends to acquire 4.9 acres of border land on a dairy farm owned for three generations by the Rainville family. Last month, the Rainvilles learned that if they refuse to sell the land for $39,500, the government intends to seize it by eminent domain.

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“It is unsafe,’’ said Marco A. Lopez, spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection.

“If there’s a weak link in the chain, that’s precisely what our enemies would target for getting things into the country,’’ she said. “It seems far-fetched to think that something like this could happen in beautiful Vermont. But before it happened, what American would have thought that someone would fly a plane into a building?’’

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