Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

House Border Bill Seeks Environmental Lawlessness

Pew Environment Group

The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act (H.R. 1505) is far-reaching legislation in every sense. Sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), it would grant broad new policing powers to federal border agents and allow them to ignore nearly 40 environmental and biodiversity preservation laws, international agreements and public processes within a 100-mile band along the nation’s northern and southern borders. This bill would effectively discard decades-old laws, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act and Wilderness Act in iconic areas such as Glacier National Park, Boundary Waters Wilderness, Acadia National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. This map illustrates the scope of the band and the additional 600 million-plus acres of national parks, monuments, Indian reservations, wilderness, wildlife refuges and other at-risk lands now managed by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.

H.R. 1505 also gives Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents with the Department of Homeland Security “operational control” over all federal lands managed by Interior and Agriculture anywhere in the country. This includes national forests, parks, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management lands and Tribal lands. With this authority, federal agents could construct roads and fences, patrol by vehicle and aircraft, install surveillance equipment and build forward operating bases on any of those lands, no questions asked. 

This bill seems to have originated spontaneously in the House of Representatives. The Department of Homeland Security has not requested legislation to improve border security, testifying, in fact, that it does not need it. Interior and Agriculture agencies already cooperate with CBP under agreements that provide, after appropriate consultation, complete access to these lands in pursuit of crimes or emergencies and development of necessary roads and equipment. According to the most recent report from the Government Accountability Office on this issue, multiagency coordination has been working well. Significantly, the Department of Homeland Security opposes H.R. 1505.

Visit EcoWatch's CLEAN AIR ACT, CLEAN WATER ACT and ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT pages for more related news on these topics.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less