Conservationists sue Trump administration over border wall
A coalition of conservation groups is suing the Trump administration over its signature border wall, arguing that the transfer of military funds for the wall’s construction is unconstitutional and claiming that the administration did not have the right to waive certain environmental requirements.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit in federal court in D.C. on Tuesday.
This is not the first time the administration was sued over its February reallocation of $3.8 billion in Pentagon funds for use on the wall. At that time, two additional suits, one by a group of 19 states and another by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, were filed.
The Tuesday suit, in addition to arguing that the transfer of funds was illegal, also challenged a March decision by the Department of Homeland Security to waive requirements such as environmental impact statements.
The lawsuit called the waiver of environmental stipulations “an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power by an executive branch official and violation of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers and non-delegation requirements.”
Their suit also brought up the effect they believe the construction will have on area wildlife, saying it could result in the elimination of jaguars in the U.S.
“This latest construction proposal would block critical cross-border wildlife corridors and permanently impede recovery efforts for endangered species like the Mexican gray wolf and jaguar,” said a statement from Jason Rylander, the senior counsel for Defenders of Wildlife.
“These areas are home to some of the last remaining undisturbed habitat for wildlife and walling them off would push these species to the brink of extinction. Defenders will continue to fight for the protection of the rule of law against reckless decisions that put our communities and wildlife at risk,” Rylander added.
This year the administration diverted $3.8 billion in Pentagon funding for the border wall. This follows additional funding taken last year for the wall following President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border.
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