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GAO to examine border wall environmental impacts

GAO to examine border wall environmental impacts
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A nonpartisan congressional watchdog has agreed to analyze the environmental and cultural impacts of the southern border wall. 

In a letter dated last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) told Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) that it would take up his request to look into the impacts of the wall. 

Last month, Grijalva, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, asked the GAO to look into the extent to which Customs and Border Protection looked into potential impacts to natural and cultural resources before carrying out construction, and the extent to which such assessments aligned with those done by tribes, communities, federal scientists and environmental groups. 

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He also asked about options for mitigating impacts along federal lands.

The committee announced that the project would be taken on in a tweet late on Friday. 

While the border wall was controversial for several reasons, including immigration policy and President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE’s diversion of military funding for its construction, opponents have also argued in court about its environmental impacts. 

Reports have indicated that saguaro cactuses were uprooted as part of the border wall’s construction even though it is illegal to remove them. 

Meanwhile, The Hill reported last year that border wall construction moved forward in 2019 even after government scientists said it could harm a nearby wildlife refuge.