Border-wall agency plans law waivers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON — The U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity on Tues­day said it would use its au­thor­ity to ex­empt the agency from hav­ing to com­ply with en­vi­ron­men­tal and other laws in its ef­forts to build border walls and ac­cess roads in the San Diego area.

The waiver would ap­ply to the con­struc­tion of sev­eral wall pro­to­types that the agency plans to build in the re­gion in re­sponse to an ex­ec­u­tive or­der signed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in Jan­uary.

Con­gress has passed sev­eral laws that give Home­land Se­cu­rity the au­thor­ity to ex­empt its con­struc­tion of phys­i­cal bar­ri­ers like border walls from a va­ri­ety of en­vi­ron­men­tal and land man­age­ment laws. Home­land Se­cu­rity in­voked that au­thor­ity five times from 2005-08, the agency said. Most of the con­struc­tion of the border walls cur­rently in use was done dur­ing that pe­riod.

David La­pan, a spokesman for the depart­ment, said the waiver would also ap­ply to re­place­ment fenc­ing and roads that the agency plans to build in the San Diego area.

The waiver will be pub­lished in the Fed­eral Reg­is­ter in the com­ing days, the agency said.

In the ab­sence of con­gres­sional fund­ing, Home­land Se­cu­rity has moved $20 mil­lion from other pro­grams to pay for the con­struc­tion of sev­eral wall pro­to­types like the ones planned for this summer in the San Diego area.

AP/The Au­gusta Chron­i­cle/MICHAEL HO­LA­HAN

Anna Belle Fo­ley, 4, dips her toes in the cool water as she spends Tues­day af­ter­noon with her baby sit­ter, Alexis Col­ston, at Rea’s Creek wa­ter­fall in Aqueduct Park in Au­gusta, Ga.

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