Government waives reviews for border wall in California - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Government waives reviews for border wall in California

By ELLIOT SPAGAT
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Trump administration on Tuesday waived environmental laws and other reviews to replace a small stretch of border wall in Calexico, California, the second time it has exercised that authority in less than two months.

Critics said the move was an overreach and a threat to the environment.

The waiver extends 3 miles (5 kilometers) west from the downtown border crossing in the city of 40,000 people, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

The Department of Homeland Security will replace an airstrip landing-mat-style fence about 14 feet (4.3 meters) high with a bollard-style fence up to 25 feet (7.6 meters) high.

Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said replacing fence in the area was one of the highest priorities for border security. The government plans to award a contract in November and begin construction in February.

It marks the seventh time the government has waived environmental reviews under a 2005 law. That law exempts the government from the National Environmental Protection Act, which calls for extensive reviews of environmental impacts, and a host of other laws.

Last month, Homeland Security waived reviews for a 15-mile (24-kilometer) stretch in San Diego.

The Center for Biological Diversity has challenged the San Diego waiver in federal court, arguing that the law doesn't apply to replacing barriers. The lawsuit also seeks to block plans to build prototypes in San Diego for what President Donald Trump has called "a big, beautiful wall" with Mexico.

Brian Segee, an attorney for the environmental advocacy group, said the latest waiver was unconstitutional. But he was undecided whether to include it in his lawsuit before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a target of Trump's enduring scorn over lawsuits that alleged fraud at the president's now-defunct Trump University.

"The Trump administration is willing to ignore the law and destroy the environment in its rush to build a destructive, divisive wall that no one else wants," Segee said.

Homeland Security said it has made significant gains in the Border Patrol's El Centro, California, sector, which includes Calexico, but more needs to be done. The Border Patrol made 19,448 arrests during the last fiscal year - less than 5 percent of the total on the border with Mexico.

Downtown Calexico, which is about 120 miles (192 kilometers) east of San Diego, has been one of the more challenging area for Border Patrol agents in the area. People who enter the country illegally often try through the highly polluted New River.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • National SportsMore>>

  • The Latest: Cowboys kneel _ but before the national anthem

    The Latest: Cowboys kneel _ but before the national anthem

    Monday, September 25 2017 8:38 AM EDT2017-09-25 12:38:04 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 10:09 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:09:43 GMT
    President Donald Trump says his criticism of football players who kneel during the national anthem "has nothing to do with race." Trump is siding with fans who joined him in criticizing football players who kneel...
    President Donald Trump says his criticism of football players who kneel during the national anthem "has nothing to do with race." Trump is siding with fans who joined him in criticizing football players who kneel during the national anthem.
  • Trump revels in drama over spat with NFL

    Trump revels in drama over spat with NFL

    Monday, September 25 2017 5:17 AM EDT2017-09-25 09:17:32 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 10:09 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:09:22 GMT
    President Donald Trump's attacks on activist athletes kicked off his favorite kind of drama _ personal, aggressive, culturally volatile and largely of his own making.
    President Donald Trump's attacks on activist athletes kicked off his favorite kind of drama _ personal, aggressive, culturally volatile and largely of his own making.
  • Cowboys kneel before national anthem against Arizona

    Cowboys kneel before national anthem against Arizona

    Monday, September 25 2017 9:58 PM EDT2017-09-26 01:58:03 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 10:00 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:00:20 GMT
    The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones kneeled together before the playing of the national anthem against the Arizona Cardinals.
    The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones kneeled together before the playing of the national anthem against the Arizona Cardinals.
  • National politicsMore>>

  • Feds rush aid to Puerto Rico amid growing pleas for help

    Feds rush aid to Puerto Rico amid growing pleas for help

    Monday, September 25 2017 6:18 PM EDT2017-09-25 22:18:03 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 10:09 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:09:52 GMT

    Federal agencies ramp up their response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico as the Trump administration seeks to blunt criticism its response to Hurricane Maria has been less than for other recent storms.

    Federal agencies ramp up their response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico as the Trump administration seeks to blunt criticism its response to Hurricane Maria has been less than for other recent storms.

  • The Latest: Cowboys kneel _ but before the national anthem

    The Latest: Cowboys kneel _ but before the national anthem

    Monday, September 25 2017 8:38 AM EDT2017-09-25 12:38:04 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 10:09 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:09:43 GMT
    President Donald Trump says his criticism of football players who kneel during the national anthem "has nothing to do with race." Trump is siding with fans who joined him in criticizing football players who kneel...
    President Donald Trump says his criticism of football players who kneel during the national anthem "has nothing to do with race." Trump is siding with fans who joined him in criticizing football players who kneel during the national anthem.
  • Collins' opposition all but kills GOP health care drive

    Collins' opposition all but kills GOP health care drive

    Monday, September 25 2017 4:27 AM EDT2017-09-25 08:27:28 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 10:09 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:09:35 GMT

    GOP senators' opposition to their party's drive to scrap President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act swelled to lethal numbers Sunday. 

    GOP senators' opposition to their party's drive to scrap President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act swelled to lethal numbers Sunday. 

Powered by Frankly