Tuesday, December 11, 2018

DHS Circumvents Environmental Laws to Speed Border Wall Construction

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On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would be waiving several environmental laws necessary to build the controversial wall with Mexico, citing a 2005 law. The Trump administration is circumventing numerous environmental laws, with the affected border segment being the area of San Diego.

“The San Diego border area remains an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional border barriers and roads,” DHS said in a statement.

The decision comes after former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was named White House chief of staff. The notice will exempt the border wall construction from complying with major laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act, among many others.

“While the waiver eliminates DHS’s obligation to comply with various laws with respect to covered projects, the department remains committed to environmental stewardship with respect to these projects,” said the DHS in a statement. “DHS has been coordinating and consulting — and intends to continue doing so — with other federal and state resource agencies to ensure impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic artifacts are analyzed and minimized, to the extent possible.”

President Trump campaigned on building a massive wall and getting Mexico to pay for it, however the House voted last week to appropriate $1.6 billion in taxpayer money to start construction. The proposed border wall continues to anger numerous environmental groups who object to the environmental impacts.

The Hill Latino