New BEP facility in Maryland closer to reality
- Published: Jun 12, 2021, 8 AM
A new currency production facility in the Washington, D.C., area is a step closer to reality with the publication on June 4 of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Construction and Operation of a Currency Production Facility within the National Capital Region.”
The statement is an analysis of possible environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic ramifications of a new plant in Greenbelt, Maryland to replace the archaic and inefficient BEP building on 14th St. S.W. in Washington, one that has been in use for over a century. The statement says the current building “is neither able to support modern currency production nor able to support Treasury’s, and specifically the BEP’s, current and future mission.”
The new installation will have a million square feet of space to house, in addition to currency production, research, development, testing and evaluation of counterfeit deterrents, and development of production automation technologies. Eventually, 1,600 people now working in Washington would relocate to Greenbelt, and currency manufacturing in Washington would be phased out, with only some administrative activities maintaining a presence in the capital.
The new plant in Maryland will be on a 104.2 acre piece of land that is part of the Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. It is expected to open in stages from 2025 to 2029.
Topics covered by the publication include land use; visual resources; air quality; noise; topography and soils; water resources; biological resources; cultural resources; traffic and transportation; utilities; socioeconomics and environmental justice; hazardous and toxic materials and waste; and human health and safety. It also considers potential cumulative environmental effects and describes practical mitigation measures to reduce possible adverse effects.
Only one proposal for a new facility was considered, so the Treasury Department has only one decision to make, no sooner than 30 days after publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. In what is called a Record of Decision, it would determine whether to proceed with construction or do nothing. It will also have to say “which mitigation measures it will implement to reduce potential adverse impacts.”
The statement is available on the project website, at https://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Home/BEP-Replacement-Project/.
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