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Border Wall Prototypes Photo: Mani Albrecht, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
The usually liberal federal appeals court in California sides with President Trump on Monday, ruling that the government has wide latitude to waive environmental laws to build a segment of the border wall in order to put on a speed construction of some border construction projects in southern California.According to NPR, the court let stand a Department of Homeland Security decision to bypass environmental regulations — including the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, and Endangered Species Act — to quickly construct barriers and roads near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The court’s opinion stated that “[b]ecause the projects are statutorily authorized and DHS has waived the environmental laws California and the environmental groups seek to enforce, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to DHS.”
The Justice Department claimed that the ruling was “a victory for the Trump administration, for the rule of law, and above all, for our border security.”
The Center for Biological Diversity found in a 2017 study that more than 90 endangered or threatened species would be threatened by proposed wall construction along the 2,000-mile border.
The lawsuit challenged only the construction of 37 prototypes of the planned border wall in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego County, as well as a replacement for existing border infrastructure along a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico boundary south of San Diego.
Why This Matters: We are facing a massive extinction crisis and constructing more of this wall is an unnecessary risk on endangered species, such as many types of butterflies. That is why environmental groups and the owners of the butterfly sanctuary filed a request to stop construction in Texas while the litigation goes forward. Whatever happened to the conservatives’ fight for property rights? Apparently, those don’t matter when the “property” is a butterfly sanctuary as opposed to a ranch or private forest land. The government’s law enforcement agencies have been driving heavy machinery through the butterfly center’s property without permission or notice, and plan to “take” the land needed for the wall by eminent domain. To be fair, the Administration plans to “take” private property like ranches as well to build their wall. Even property rights are “endangered” by the wall.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The earth is collapsing under Russia’s northeastern towns as global warming melts the permafrost beneath them. Permafrost occupies 65% of Russia’s landmass, making this massive thawing particularly destructive. “There isn’t a single settlement in Russia’s Arctic where you wouldn’t find a destroyed or deformed building,” said Alexey Maslakov, […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Heirs’ property is a type of land ownership whereby property is passed down without a will, and it’s one of the main reasons Black families in the US are losing their land. But the Mobile Basin Heirs’ Property Support Initiative announced yesterday could help families in Mississippi’s Mobile Bay […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The White House announced Friday that President Biden will use his executive authority to restore protections for three national monuments drastically reduced during the Trump Administration. He will reestablish and increase the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, both of which are in Utah. The orders […]
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