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DHS Waives Environmental Laws For Border Wall

by Countable | 9.15.17

What’s the story?

The Trump administration is waiving a plethora of environmental regulations and laws to ramp up construction of a two-mile segment of border wall in the California town of Calexico.

The Department of Homeland Security issued the waiver, saying the stretch of wall built in the 1990s is an area of "high illegal entry." According to a notice published in the Federal Register, the current 14-foot fence will be replaced by an 18-to-25 foot barrier “that employs a more operationally effective design.”

Why does it matter?

To speed up the construction process, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke waived 28 environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Archeological Resources Protection Act, and Endangered Species Act.

Less than two months ago, the Trump administration waived similar laws to begin construction on prototypes for Trump’s oft-touted "big beautiful wall" across the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

Duke said bypassing these laws was necessary given the Calexico location. "In fiscal year 2016 alone," she wrote in the Federal Register, “Border Patrol apprehended over 19,000 illegal aliens and seized approximately 2,900 pounds of marijuana and approximately 126 pounds of cocaine.”

Not everyone agrees with the regulatory rollbacks.

"Wiping away decades-old laws along the border achieves nothing more than unnecessarily harming local communities, wildlife, and wild places," Dan Millis, a campaign organizer for the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “It is irresponsible for the Trump Administration to ignore this nation’s most effective laws to deliver an extremist agenda.”

But DHS said in a statement that

"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."

What do you think?

Is DHS right to waive environmental laws to expedite construction of a border wall? Or is it a threat to the people and environment of Calexico? Should DHS slow the project until a full environmental impact can be done? Hit the Take Action button, tell your reps, then comment below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: Josh Herman)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(568)
  • Armineh
    09/15/2017
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    This is insane! The environment is much more important than a stupid wall! Please oppose this bill.

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  • Michael.J.L
    09/15/2017
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    Gee why am I NOT surprised? This administration is waiving environmental laws everywhere. How about enacting just 1 more environmental law to remove the toxic waste in the White House?

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  • Phillip
    09/15/2017
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    Look, it's clear this administration is going to troll decent citizens (and truth, science, etc) to appease its base. Stay strong, people. Let's take our country back.

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  • Meagan
    09/15/2017
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    I would love to write a coherent comment regarding the wall through Calexico, but I am too busy and dazed from repeatedly bashing my head into my desk. Every single part of this "plan" is flawed. A tiny stretch of wall will have little to no effect on illegal immigration, but the waiving of all these environmental concerns absolutely could negatively impact the area. And now, back to smashing my face into the tabletop in frustration. Thank you.

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  • Mark
    09/15/2017
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    Just forget the Border Wall...this is not Communist East Germany!!

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  • Jeanne
    09/15/2017
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    My level of disgust with 45's administration has skyrocketed. Every day he does something that propels us towards being a 3rd world country. Now he says that his bloody wall is so important that the environment can just suffer unrealistic and untold consequences. When is the Republican Party going to stop kow towing to him and do what's right for the public and the environment? Stop the wall. Stop 45!

    Like (75)
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  • Ann
    09/15/2017
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    It is impossible to believe that security on this section of the border cannot be strengthened without leaving these laws in place. No, DHS should not waive these environmental protections.

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  • Andrew
    09/15/2017
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    A recipe for disaster if I ever saw one. We are fast creating an environment that is NOT sustainable and will kill future generations. I am calling on YOU as my representative to publicly denounce and demand that the DHS rescind their environmental waivers for this section of the border wall AND for any such project that the DHS will be in charge of or has a saying in from now on.

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  • Curt
    09/15/2017
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    Choosing to simply ignore laws to suit the government is a true sign of a governing body that is out of control. Environmental laws were passed for a reason. The USA is a land of laws. We expect people to abide by those laws, we also expect the government to abide by the same laws.

    Like (36)
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  • Anne
    09/15/2017
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    This is not acceptable. Not only is spending tax money to build a wall unacceptable, as it will do nothing to stop immigration, but waiving environmental protections to build the wall goes two-fold against what I believe in. Spend time and money making a comprehensive immigration plan where those fleeing horrible atrocities can come to the US, and secondly, start tightening environmental protections. This administration has no respect for the earth or its inhabitants.

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  • Susan
    09/15/2017
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    This makes me physically ill. I can't believe that our environment is being thrown under the bus to stop a few illegal aliens from crossing the border especially when most come here by plane anyway. Every day I pray that we can somehow stop this daily assault on our environment, rights, and democracy.

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  • Letitia
    09/15/2017
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    Wrong, wrong, wrong. They ignore our environment as if it is unimportant. The wall is a pointless political statement, fueled by racism. There is no end to this insanity.

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  • Pamela
    09/15/2017
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    Apologies in advance - fuck 45, fuck his wall. Get him the hell out of office while there is still a semblance of America left.

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  • Kyle
    09/15/2017
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    We just had Hurricane Harvey and Irma devastate two states...and y'all wanna distort this whole nonsense of a wall. FORGET THE WALL! Only the racist white supremacists want this freaking wall! Protect it the environment and do something about Climate Change, because this isn't no freaking fairy tale! Oppose this bill and protect our environment

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  • Ticktock
    09/15/2017
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    The waiving of environmental law doesn't surprise me. Since when has this Administration or Congress cared anything about the environment? The Gestapo in Nazi Germany usually got their way they were a law unto themselves just like DHS.

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  • Henry
    09/15/2017
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    This Trump wall not only will not work but is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer money. We need our infrastructure repaired,healthcare for all, education system fixed. Put the money where it's really needed,not for some political idea that makes no sense whatsoever!

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  • Samuel
    09/15/2017
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    NO WAIVERS, no wall, no 🤡otus

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  • Brian
    09/15/2017
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    This is unacceptable.

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  • Midnitte
    09/15/2017
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    This is the epitome of short-sighted and idiotic.

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  • Mark
    09/15/2017
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    This is absolutely ridiculous. The very idea of waiving protections (environmental) that have been researched and established for the good of our people and specific species of animals just to establish a monument to our president makes me livid. Specifically what will a higher wall in a place that already has a wall do to protect us (as a country)? I want specifics? I want to see the op specs showing how it secures our country in such a way as to trump (no pun intended) environmental protections. This is getting to be such a farcical government administration. When is congress (our elected representatives) going to say enough is enough. My apologies for the rant but I am determined to hold the people we elected accountable for their actions in this government.

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