Trump waives environmental laws to speed border wall construction

The Department of Homeland Security will waive 37 environmental laws and regulations to build prototypes of President Trump's planned border wall and replace existing border infrastructure along a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico boundary near San Diego.

The order Tuesday comes weeks after the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the wall prototypes and infrastructure replacements in San Diego County.

The 2005 Real ID Act gave the Homeland Security secretary discretion to waive laws for “expeditious” border infrastructure construction, a provision environmental groups say threatens natural resources and endangered species.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Trump's newly named chief of staff, is behind the effort to waive laws that form the basis for the center’s lawsuit, which could lead to the suit's dismissal, said Brian Segee, a lawyer for the center.

"The intent of this waiver is potentially responding to our lawsuit,” he said.

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