The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
House Passes Resolution Against Trump's 'National Emergency' to Fund Border Wall That Endangers 90+ Species
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Tuesday to overturn President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to fund the construction of a border wall that would put 93 endangered species at risk. Trump issued the declaration to secure around $8 billion in funding for the wall after a bipartisan spending bill passed by Congress Feb. 15 allocated only $1.375 billion to border security. Trump had originally requested $5.7 billion for the wall during a stand-off with Congress that resulted in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
The resolution against the national emergency passed the House 245 to 182, with 13 Republicans breaking ranks to join with Democrats to pass the measure, CNN reported.
"Today, the House showed Donald Trump that Americans will not sit idly by as he steals taxpayer money, claims our country is in a non-existent emergency, and manufactures a humanitarian crisis on the border. All of these actions are the Trump administration's efforts to advance a twisted, racist, and cruel agenda built on inhumane deportations and a divisive, environmentally destructive, congressionally rejected border wall," Sierra Club federal policy director Melinda Pierce said in a statement.
The fight over the national emergency now moves to the Senate, where the passage of a resolution blocking it is less certain. Four Republican senators would need to vote with every Democratic senator to pass the resolution. So far, three Republicans have indicated they will support the measure: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Tillis wrote a Washington Post op-ed Monday announcing his decision, in which he said he supported Trump's desire to increase border security, but was worried about the precedent he was setting. Part of what concerned him was whether a future Democratic president would declare a national emergency to pursue sweeping action on climate change.
"[Conservatives] should be thinking about whether they would accept the prospect of a President Bernie Sanders declaring a national emergency to implement parts of the radical Green New Deal," he wrote.
Environmental groups have been at the forefront of the fight against the border wall and the emergency declaration. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) tweeted urging followers to call their senators and encourage them to vote for the resolution against the declaration.
CBD has also joined with Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund to sue the Trump administration, arguing its use of an emergency declaration to divert funds for wall construction was not legal, as The Hill reported Feb. 18.
"Separation of powers is at the heart of our democracy and the power of the purse is a critical check on the president. Trump's authoritarian attempt to build his destructive border wall is a flagrant abuse of that constitutional structure. If he gets his way, it'll be a disaster for communities and wildlife along the border, including some of our country's most endangered species," CBD senior attorney Brian Segee said in a statement reported by The Hill.
It is likely the issue will ultimately be decided in the courts, BBC News reported. That is because, even if the Senate passes the resolution, Trump has promised to veto it. At that point, a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate would be required to override the veto.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate would vote on the resolution before its next recess the week of March 18, CNN reported.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Return of a Relative: Tribal Communities in the Northern Great Plains Rally Around Bison Restoration
By Clay Bolt
On Oct. 11 people around the world celebrated the release of four plains bison onto a snow-covered butte in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.