North country Congressman Bill Owens says he will fight plans to charge a fee to cross the U.S. - Canadian border.

Owens (D. - 21st District) says the Department of Homeland Security is looking to study the feasibility of imposing a fee to cross the border. 

The proposal to study a new fee is in the DHS budget for 2014.

The department argues it needs the money to defray increasing security costs.

Owens, who is co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, strongly opposes the measure.

"Imposing a fee to cross the border is a bad idea, plain and simple," said Owens in a prepared statement. "I represent a number of communities that depend on Canadian travelers and investment to support local businesses and job growth.  Instead of adding an additional barrier for commerce, we should be taking more steps to ease the legitimate flow of people and goods between our two countries."

The proposed fee would apply to both the northern and southwest borders of the United States, said Owens.

Owens is vowing to prevent the measure from coming to light. 

"I will explore all legislative options available to me to prevent this move in the months ahead," Owens said.  "Good work is being done across the district to reduce wait times and promote increased trade with America's neighbor to the North. We should keep focus on these positive developments and set aside any initiatives that would diminish the progress already taking hold."

See Owens' news release