Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Energy 202: Trump to waive environmental rules to construct border wall

Washington Post ^ | August 2 at 9:24 AM | By Dino Grandoni 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Tuesday that it will use its authority under a George W. Bush-era law to bypass environmental rules in order to construct a section of President Trump's promised border wall.
The announcement underscores the commitment from DHS -- now without a permanent leader after John Kelly's ascended to become White House chief of staff -- and theTrump administration more broadly making good on the president's signature campaign promise, despite not yet having a plan for the wall in place nor funding for its construction approved by Congress (though that is in the pipeline).
DHS issued the environmental waiver for a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, starting at the Pacific Ocean and extending eastward, that the department describes as one of the busiest for illicit border crossings.
"The sector remains an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional border barriers and roads," DHS said in a statement.
(snip)
Under normal circumstances, a federal agency must complete an environmental impact study before beginning a major infrastructure project on public land. But a 2005 law grants the federal government broad authority to waive such environmental examinations and other legal requirements in order to expeditiously build a border barrier. Michael Chertoff, homeland security secretary under Bush, used the waiver five times, the department said.
In this case, the waiver will be used to construct prototype walls, along with roads and other infrastructure, called for in a January executive order signed by President Trump.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

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