Border Fence Will Skirt Environmental Laws

Dozens dumped to speed building
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2008 5:40 AM CDT
A zig-zagging second fence, center, runs parallel to the orginal border fence, right, along the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego, in a Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003 file photo.    (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Homeland Security is ditching environmental laws in a push to finish 670 miles of border fence along Mexico by the end of this year, reports the Los Angeles Times. Congress has approved a waiver for more than 30 environmental and cultural laws to accelerate building. Critics say the plans are being pushed through without proper assessment and will endanger wildlife.

Environmentalists believe the migration routes of butterflies and big cats will be threatened by the fence. Republicans hailed the move to waive the laws, saying that the fence would help cut crime and illegal immigration. But the fence is proving deeply unpopular among border communities—and experts warn the waivers will make it very difficult for residents to mount legal challenges on environmental grounds.