At the beginning of August, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would use its authority to waive environmental laws which would otherwise delay (or inhibit) the construction of President Trump’s border wall. As private contractors prepare to build prototypes for the wall in San Diego, CA, the state’s attorney general has legally challenged its construction.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit against the Trump administration on Wednesday, arguing the wall “threatens the state of California’s economic, procedural and sovereign interests and will harm the state’s natural resources.”
Speaking at a news conference near the border, Becerra also contended that by waiving environmental laws to hasten construction of the wall, Trump’s administration had “once again ignored laws it doesn’t like in order to resuscitate a campaign talking point to build a wall on our southern border.”
The lawsuit takes aim at whether construction of a wall would damage the environment — as have similar lawsuits filed by the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Legal Defense Fund. Specifically, California’s lawsuit claims the federal agencies haven’t conducted the necessary environmental research to approve construction. Per USA Today:
The lawsuit describes the lack of an environmental study on the 400-foot wall prototypes planned for construction in San Diego in the coming months, and ultimately, the proposed 2,000-mile wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. It alleges the Department of Homeland Security has moved forward with the border wall project even though federal agencies haven’t complied with laws, including the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Despite an alleged deal preventing the wall’s construction, Trump remains committed to fortifying the border — even if it’s just a fence. According to BuzzFeed News, Trump’s team is running targeted ads on Facebook to reassure his supporters that the wall will, in fact, be built. He also previously threatened to shutdown the government over construction of the wall.
While the wall’s future remains uncertain, California’s commitment to fighting Trump’s agenda is assured. Since he took office, California has filed two other lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s immigration policies and environmental policies. Just last week, California passed the nation’s first “sanctuary state” bill.