Environmental Lawsuit Could Delay Border Wall for Years

Conservation group asks DHS for impact study
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2017 6:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump's plan for a border wall has hit an environmental roadblock with the potential to last longer than his presidency—even if he doesn't choose the design that incorporates nuclear waste. A lawsuit filed in Arizona on Wednesday by the Center for Biological Diversity and US Rep. Raul Grijalva invokes the National Environmental Policy Act to call for an environmental impact analysis to be carried out before the project starts, the Guardian reports. The conservation group and Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, say the lawsuit is the first to be filed against the border wall since Trump signed an executive order in January. The review it asks the Department of Homeland Security for could take years to complete.

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Conservationists warn that a wall could be very damaging to wildlife, especially rare species such as jaguars that are known to roam across the border. "American environmental laws are some of the oldest and strongest in the world, and they should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else," says Grijalva, per the Hill. The lawsuit notes that while a preliminary assessment was carried out in 2001, the more comprehensive study that Homeland Security was supposed to deliver afterward is more than a decade overdue, the Arizona Republic reports. Americans "have a right to know what the damage is going to be, what it's going to cost, and how effective it's going to be," says Randy Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. (Read more border wall stories.)

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