BELTSVILLE, Md. --
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are hosting a public open house Dec. 3 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), located at 10300 Baltimore Ave., Building 003 auditorium, to provide information and solicit input on the proposed action to replace BEP’s aging, inefficient currency production facility in Washington, D.C. and construct it on previously occupied land at BARC.
This meeting provides the first opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to learn more about BEP’s proposal and the associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS will analyze the potential impacts of constructing and operating a replacement currency production facility at BARC. This meeting falls within a public comment period that ends Dec. 15, 2019. The public will also be invited to review and comment on the draft EIS when it is released. Comments from the public will be considered before any decision is made.
BEP currently operates two production facilities, one in Washington, D.C. and another in Fort Worth, Texas. The Washington, D.C. production facility (D.C. facility) is more than 100 years old, and its age and design limit BEP’s ability to modernize its currency production operations.
From 2010 through 2017, BEP conducted various studies to determine the best course of action for addressing the many operational deficiencies at the D.C. facility. Based on factors such as cost, location and operational requirements, these studies concluded that constructing a new replacement currency production facility rather than renovating the D.C. facility was the most appropriate and cost-effective option for BEP to pursue. A 2018 Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of BEP’s analysis concurred with this finding.
The BARC site being considered by BEP consists of approximately 105 acres near the intersection of Poultry Road and Powder Mill Road. This site would meet BEP’s requirements for being accessible to commercial airports and interstate roadways, and for maintaining a reasonable commuting distance for its existing workforce in Washington, D.C.
The Army Corps signed an interagency agreement with BEP in March 2019 to coordinate the environmental studies and provide design and construction oversight for BEP’s proposal.
The EIS will analyze the potential impacts of constructing and operating the replacement production facility at the proposed BARC site. At a minimum, the EIS will analyze the impacts of not constructing and operating a new facility at BARC and a proposed site or action alternative. Other reasonable alternatives identified during the EIS scoping process will also be considered. Resource areas that will be analyzed in the EIS include: land use, aesthetics, air quality, noise, geology and soils, water resources, biological resources, cultural resources, socioeconomics and environmental justice, traffic and transportation, utilities, and hazardous and toxic materials/waste. The EIS will also analyze potential cumulative environmental effects. Mitigation measures will be presented in the EIS to reduce potential adverse effects.
The next opportunity for public comment will start with the release of the draft EIS. The final EIS and decision is anticipated to wrap up in summer 2021.
Comments may be submitted in writing to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, ATTN. Harvey Johnson, Programs and Project Management Division, 2 Hopkins Plaza, 10th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201, or emailed to: BEP-EIS@usace.army.mil. Written comments must be sent within the 30-day public scoping period, from Nov. 15, 2019, to Dec. 15, 2019.
For more information on BEP’s proposal and associated environmental review, visit the project’s webpage at: https://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Home/BEP-Replacement-Project/