Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

Oregano oil is an extract that is not as strong as the essential oil, but appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Peakpx / CC by 1.0

By Alexandra Rowles

Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.

However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets Ronaldo Caiado, governor of the state of Goiás on June 5, 2020. Palácio do Planalto / CC BY 2.0

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over the world's second worst coronavirus outbreak after the U.S., said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Read More Show Less
Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less
About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Hundreds of sudden elephant deaths in Botswana aren't just a loss for the ecosystem and global conservation efforts. Mario Micklisch / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Charli Shield

When an elephant dies in the wild, it's not uncommon to later find its bones scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.

Read More Show Less