May  2008

Department of Homeland Security waives
environmental and cultural protection laws to build
border wall; Defenders of Wildlife files suit

On April 1st, 2008 DHS announced the signing of the waiver. A Petition for
a Writ of Certiorari was filed with the supreme court by Defenders of Wildlife
and the Sierra Club.  Amicus briefs in support of the petition have been filed
by a number of groups, including the
Tohono O'odham Nation.
Stop the Building of the Border Wall:  Resist the Department of Homeland Security!

On April 1st, 2008 Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff publicly announced that the
Department of Homeland Security would waive a number of environmental and cultural protection laws in order to
expedite the building of the border wall along the US / Mexico border.

In his deceleration, Chertoff wrote that he was waiving these laws
"in their entirety" and was doing so in order to
expedite the building of the wall.  But what's worse is that Chertoff's deceleration does not seem limited to the
immediate time period when the wall is being built.  

The waiver deceleration clearly states that in addition to applying to the period of time when the wall is being built,
the waiver also applies to the
"upkeep of fences, roads, supporting elements, drainage, erosion controls, safety
features, surveillance, communication, and detection equipment of all types, radar and radio towers, and lighting."
What this seems to mean is that the waivers of environmental and cultural protection laws will remain in effect for the
entire period of time that the finished wall remains in existence.

The following are some of the many laws that the DHS has waived in order to build the wall:

-  The Endangered Species Act (Pub. L. 93-205, 87 Stat. 884 (Dec. 28,1973) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.))

-  The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act)

-  The Clean Air Act (42 D.S.C. 7401 et seq.)

-  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 D.S.C. 9601 et seq.)

-  The Wilderness Act (Pub.L.88-577,16U.S.C. 1131etseq.)

-  The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (Pub. L. 89-669, 16 D.S.C. 668dd-668ee)

-  The Eagle Protection Act (16 D.S.C. 668 et seq.)

-  The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 D.S.C. 3001 et seq.)

-  The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 D.S.C. 1996)

Many of the laws that the Department of Homeland Security has waived were enacted as a result of public
movements in support of environmental protection and the restoration of human rights and dignity to indigenous
Turtle Islanders (North Americans).  

The fact that these hard won laws can be so easily and blatently thrown out to suit the whim of the administration
just goes to show that, in the end, the government does whatever it wants in order to preserve its power, regardless
of the laws in place.

These waivers are a blatant act of totalitarinaism and they must be resisted.  

We must all do what we can to challenge the Department of Homeland Security and do our best to prevent this wall
from being built!
To learn more about this issue please take a look at the following PDF documents:

Chertoff press release about waivers

Legal text of waivers

Defenders of Wildlife & Sierra Club v. Secretary of Homeland Secutity Chertoff

To learn more about the lawsuit please visit the Defenders of Wildlife webpage on Border Policy.