Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has agreed to waive 28 laws, mainly environmental regulations and parts of the Endangered Species Act, in order to speed construction of the Boder Wall in the Rio Grande Valley, News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
"Congress provided that he Secrtary shall take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical barriers and roads (including the removal of obstacles to the detection of illegal entrants) in the vicinity of the Unied Sates border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States," Nielsen wrote in her order.University of Texas biololgist Norma Fowler says that will destroy sensitive habitat in the area.
"At least two of the endangered species that I have studied and published on will literally be destroyed by having a wall built right where they are," she said.
The Rio Grande Valley has long been considered one of the most environmentally unique areas in the country, with a combination of flora and fauna from both North American and Latin America which is not seen elsewhere.
One key portion of the Border Wall is planned for areas which include those sensitive areas.
Dr. Fowler says the result turn this unique ecological area into a 'no man's zone.'
"Will we have to get a passport to go watch birds," she asked. "There is already on natural preserve in Brownsville which is on the other side of the wall now."
She says the reason why the environmentally sensitive land is being used for the Border Wall is it is already in federal hands, for protection purposes. But that means the feds don't need to seize private property for wall construction.