Environmental and Public Health Laws Suspended at Parts of Trump’s Border Wall
What happened: In January 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is waiving 25 environmental, natural resource, and land management laws in order to expediate the construction of President Trump’s border wall between the United States and Mexico. Specifically, the waiver will apply to a 20-mile area east of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, an area near the Rio Grande that is rich with cultural and natural resources. This waiver will suspend important laws that keeps the air and water clean, protects people from hazardous waste sites, protects endangered species, preserves cultural and historical artifacts, and more.
Why it matters: Over 2500 scientists from 43 countries – including over 1470 American scientists and 610 Mexican scientists – have signed and endorsed an academic article detailing the threat to biodiversity that the US-Mexico border wall will have. Almost all of the 25 suspended laws are designed for the purposes of protecting public health, the environment, or cultural and historical heritage and are based on firm scientific evidence. Science is used in the policy-making process because it is the best mechanism we have to protect public health and the environment. When the Trump administration decides to ignore science-based policies in favor of political goals, the administration is also endangering the health and well-being of the American people and the natural environment.
Learn more about how the DHS is waving 25 federal laws for Trump’s border wall, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).