Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security announced that the proposed border wall can work around environmental regulations that could have bogged down construction for years.
The rules waived by the DHS are intended to protect endangered species and habitats at the border by requiring environmental impact reports.
A press release from the department read:
“This waiver is pursuant to authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security by Congress and covers a variety of environmental, natural resource, and land management laws."
Border wall prototypes and a physical wall in San Diego could start this November. The DHS waiver allows the Army Corps of Engineers to begin drilling sooner and for road construction to begin sooner, but a timeline from the Trump administration has yet to be released.
DHS has identified a site for prototype construction about 100 feet from the border and about 2 miles east of the Otay Mesa border crossing.
Brian Segee, an attorney with the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, condemned the action:
"Trump wants to scare people into letting him ignore the law and endanger wildlife and people. This isn't just a wall they're in a rush to build. It's roads, lighting and all of the infrastructure that comes with it.”
Some of the endangered species the environmentalists are concerned about are the checkerspot butterfly and coastal California gnatcatcher.
The Border Patrol has said that prototypes must be 30 feet tall, can't be climbed, and must be constructed to prevent digging below the wall for at least 6 feet.