LINKS Feb. 18, 2011

Updated 3:44 pm EST


Congressmen urge ‘freight fee’ on Canadian imports to pay for US roads [Postmedia News]

Saskatchewan sees no lack of suitors [Financial Post]


Travel fees: Obama’s regressive idea [Windsor Star]

US entry fees on Canadians creates uproar [Economic Times]

Obama proposes fee for Canadian visitors in draft US budget [Fairport-East Rochester Post, NY]

Close to 200 people show up for Border Patrol meeting [Blaine, Washington]

Flight fee “ruffles feathers” north of the border [CP]

BC tourism minister weighs in on fee proposal [CKNW Victoria]

Canadians face new US border fee [Toronto Star]

Harper slams US travel fee, say not conducive to economic recovery [Postmedia News]

PM frowns on proposed US travel fee [Globe and Mail]


State Dept. reverses FOIA refusal on Keystone XL [Michigan Messenger]

Pipeline safety, corrosion issues take spotlight in Keystone XL debate [Reuters]

Pipeline opponents take fight to Austin [KYTX - Texas]

Labor, industry oppose bill aimed at mega-loads [Great Falls Tribune - Montana]

Tar sands apologists admit not reading pipeline safety report before slamming it []

Pipeline Safety Trust reports on transport risks of oils sands crude [Oil & Gas Journal]

The viability of Keystone XL [The energy collective]


Boston Globe mentions []

Updated: Obama proposes travel fee for Canada

February 16, 2011
By Luiza Ch. Savage

The 2012 budget plan that President Barack Obama unveiled this week includes a proposal to impose a $5.50 fee on every traveller entering the US from Canada by commercial vehicle  aircraft or vessel (airlines, cruises, buses, etc.) More precisely, it would end a waiver that visitors from Canada (not just citizens or residents, but all visitors) have enjoyed until now.

(I had understood that commercial buses were included in this, but the language is limited to aircraft and vessels.)

According to Birgit Matthiesen of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, 16, 347, 580 air passengers from Canada in 2009 at $5.50 would bring in $89,911,690 or almost the $110 million the Department of Homeland Security said they were looking to generate in the 2012 budget proposal.

Matthiesen says the proposal contradicts the border vision that Harper and Obama set out:

“It’s just yet another demonstration that crossing the border from Canada to the US is going to be costing us more and that the border is a real border. This will stymie not only tourism across our borders but also the travel of our business people,” she said.

“The idea that revenues to offset US budget deficits will come at the expense of Canadian tourists and businesspeople is worrisome – especially coming on the heels of Prime Minister Harper’s visit to the US when they pledged to do more for North American businesses and the North American economy. They pledged to reduce regulatory burdens. This is a huge burden.”

Matthiesen said that NAFTA does not give protection from the fee.

Of course, Obama’s budget is merely a proposal. The US Congress has to legislate any changes.

Here is the current COBRA language:

19 CFR 24.22(g)

Fees for arrival of passengers aboard commercial vessels and commercial aircraft(1) Fees. (i) Subject to paragraphs (g)(1)(ii) and (g)(3) of this section, a fee of $5 must be collected and remitted to CBP for services provided in connection with the arrival of each passenger aboard a commercial vessel or commercial aircraft from a place outside the United States, other than Canada, Mexico, one of the territories and possessions of the United States, or one of the adjacent islands, in either of the following circumstances: (A) When the journey of the arriving passenger originates in a place outside the United States other than Canada, Mexico, one of the territories or possessions of the United States, or one of the adjacent islands; or (B) When the journey of the arriving passenger originates in the United States and is not limited to Canada, Mexico, territories and possessions of the United States, and adjacent islands.

Background on COBRA is here.

The DHS budget justification document mentions ending the exemption:

“The President’s FY 2012 Budget includes a legislative proposal to lift the country exemptions for Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, which will increase collections by $110 million. The Budget assumes implementation of this exemption by Q3 FY 2012 and therefore requests $55 million in discretionary funding to cover half of the costs.”

(The easiest way to find it is to go to download the very long budget justification document and do a word search for COBRA.)


You can follow me on Twitter at luizachsavage


[Cross-posted from Savage Washington at]

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