Challenging Federal Government’s Waiver of Environmental Laws to Build Border Wall
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Kirstjen M. Nielsen
A coalition of public interest groups challenged the federal government's waiver of dozens of environmental, health and safety laws related to construction of a U.S. – Mexico border wall in parts of California impacting thousands of animals.
January 26, 2019
U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case Dec. 2018
Other border wall litigation pending
The Animal Legal Defense Fund joined a coalition of public interest groups challenging the federal government’s waiver of dozens of environmental, health and safety laws related to construction of a U.S. – Mexico border wall in parts of California. Construction will impact thousands of animals, including dozens of endangered and threatened species.
The lawsuit argues that the use of these waivers to prevent proper oversight of such a massive project which poses a threat to wildlife, the environment, and public health and safety, is both reckless and violates the U.S. Constitution.
Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on the grounds that the provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 purporting to authorize the agency to waive the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, or other federal laws in order to construct the border wall violates the U.S. Constitution.
Why this case is important: The wall will harm dozens of endangered and threatened species, including the jaguar, Mexican gray wolf, ocelot, sonoran pronghorn, the Mexican spotted owl, Quino checkerspot butterfly, and the California gnatcatcher. Some of these species, such as the jaguar, were just starting to come back from the brink of extinction, and the border wall might jeopardize that recovery and cause their extinction.
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