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National parks 11

National parks 11

A rocky landscape dominates the desert mountains along the US-Mexico border on April 4, 2008 east of Jacumba, California. In an aggressive move to further extend walls and fences on the border with Mexico, the Bush administration will ignore more than 30 federal laws designed to protect the environment and cultural heritage in order to complete of 670 miles of barriers before the president leaves office. Congress has given US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff the power to waive the federal laws for rapid construction without delays for environmental impact studies and hearings. Two waivers allowing the DHS to ignore the laws are the most expansive to date, encompassing 470 miles of land across California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Conservative Republicans are praising the time-saving tactic but wildlife and conservation groups are reacting with dismay that pristine natural lands, wildlife, and cultural sites could suffer without protective oversight.

David McNew