Border-wall agency plans law waivers
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.
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.