Contact: Robert Dreher, Defenders of Wildlife, (202)772-3225
Oliver Bernstein, Sierra Club,
NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Conservation Groups Challenge
Chertoff’s Waiver Power as Unconstitutional
On October 10, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle issued a temporary restraining order stopping border wall and road construction within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the San Pedro area, hadn’t properly analyzed the impacts of the construction on wildlife and other natural resources, and that the agencies had failed to include the public in their decision-making process. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff responded by invoking the
“Instead of fixing these shortcomings and incorporating environmental protection into national security efforts, Secretary Chertoff took it upon himself to waive 19 laws. These laws were put in place to provide all of us with clean air and water and ensure our treasured places and wildlife are protected,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. “The Secretary’s action was a clear and unprecedented abuse of authority and demonstrated a profound disregard for the system of checks and balances assured in our constitution. The Secretary left us no choice but to address the unconstitutional nature of the
“The Bush administration should know that we have the ability to protect our nation while at the same time preserving the unique wildlife and treasured lands along the border,” said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. “Arbitrarily waiving environmental protections is an extreme path to tread.”
Despite the fact that the groups’ lawsuit was based on violations of only three laws, Sec. Chertoff responded by waiving 19 laws intended to protect wildlife and endangered species, clean water and air, safe drinking water, and cultural, historic and archeologically significant resources.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.
The Sierra Club is