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Environmental laws waived for border barriers

TUCSON – The United States government is moving forward with building barriers along the southern border in Arizona and California.

The Department of Homeland Security recently waived 41 laws to help make that possible. Some say this will negatively affect the environment. Specifically the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge.

“So that means the administration doesn’t have to go through the process of talking with tribes or doing archeological surveys to see if they might be disturbing Native American burial grounds. It means they are not going to consider the impacts of this project on species like the jaguar, like the Sonoran pronghorn,” said Borderlands Campaigner with Center for Biological Diversity, Laiken Jordahl.

It is another step in the planning process to replace barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Environmental advocates like Jordahl said every single law that was waived, would apply in building the wall.

“These are laws like the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act. There are also laws that protect Indigenous Nations like the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.”

The 100-mile stretch that will be funded by the Department of Defense.

“This wall will be coming to areas like Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, the Coronado National Memorial. Incredible national treasures. Areas that drive a lot of tourism. Areas that are home to rare wildlife. These walls will cut right through the heart of some of these areas,” said Jordahl.

If you would like to comment on this issue, contact the Department of Homeland Security https://www.dhs.gov/topic/border-security

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