Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday environmentalists are filing “frivolous” lawsuits to stop the Trump administration’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“The wall is going to be built,” Pruitt said on “Fox & Friends.” “In these kind of situations you see challenges like this that are just frivolous.”
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) want the courts to halt construction of Trump’s border wall, arguing it will harm sensitive ecosystems and impede the movement of endangered species, specifically jaguars.
“Endangered species like jaguars and ocelots don’t observe international boundaries and should not be sacrificed for unnecessary border militarization,” Kierán Suckling, CBD’s executive director, said in a statement.
CBD argues the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has to conduct an environmental assessment of the wall before they can begin building it. Construction and thousands of new border agents will harm the environment, CBD argues.
President Donald Trump’s most iconic campaign pledge was to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration. Democrats have opposed the wall, and environmentalists filed suit to stop construction.
“American environmental laws are some of the oldest and strongest in the world, and they should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else,” said Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, who joined the lawsuit.
A 2005 law allows DHS to waive dozens of environmental laws in order to build infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff invoked the law in 2008 to build barriers along the border.
Pruitt said EPA would not stand in the way of a border wall.
“We deal with a lot of things at the EPA,” Pruitt said. “I can tell you we’re not going to deal with that. That’s not something we’re focused on at all.”
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