2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 9 Feb 2005 20:10:11 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Legislation to exempt borders from environmental laws
FROM SaveOurEnvironment.org

On January 26, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner
(R-Wisconsin) introduced H.R. 418, the "Real ID Act of 2005." Although
the legislation primarily addresses national security and immigration
issues, Section 102(c) of H.R. 418 also includes sweeping language
allowing the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to exempt
the agency from all federal, state and local environmental laws when
constructing walls, fences, roads and other barriers along U.S. borders.

Although Rep. Sensenbrenner describes H.R. 418 as applying only to a
border fencing project in San Diego, section 102(c)(1) would in reality
likely waive laws in all areas not only along, but "in the vicinity of,"
U.S. international borders with both Mexico and Canada. Border
construction has already done extensive environmental damage to many of
these areas; the potential for increased damage would skyrocket if all
environmental protections were waived.

The exemptions would apply to all U.S. border areas with both Mexican
and Canada, including border areas that run near or through national
parks, forests and monuments, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas and
other environmentally sensitive areas. In fact, nearly half of the 1,900
miles along the U.S.-Mexico border are federal public lands, while the
figure is approximately 25 percent for the U.S.-Canadian border. More
than 365 miles of U.S. borderlands alone are within the National Park
System, including North Cascades, Glacier, Voyageurs, Isle Royale, and
Big Bend national parks, and Organ Pipe Cactus and Grand Portage
national monuments. Many national wildlife refuges, including Cabeza
Prieta, Buenos Aires and Lower Rio Grande, are also directly along U.S. borders.


For the rest of this report, go to
For more information, go to


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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