California Judge Blocks Border Wall Construction Due to Sierra Club’s Concerns

His order applies to two planned projects to add 51 miles of fence in two areas…

Private Construction Company Shows Lawmakers It Can Build Border Wall For a Fraction of the Time, Cost 1

IMAGE: Fox Business Network via Twitter

(Los Angeles Times) A California judge Friday granted a preliminary injunction sought by the Sierra Club and two other advocacy groups that sued to block construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The groups had claimed that the Trump administration overstepped its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. also immediately halted the administration’s efforts to redirect military-designated funds to build sections of wall on the Mexican border. His order applies to two planned projects to add 51 miles of fence in two areas.

The judge’s order means that for now, the federal government is “enjoined from taking any action to construct a border barrier in the areas” cited by the groups.

“It is important at the outset for the court to make clear what this case is, and is not, about. The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise. It is not about whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to existing conditions at the southern border of the United States,” Gilliam wrote.

“Instead, this case presents strictly legal questions regarding whether the proposed plan for funding border barrier construction exceeds the Executive Branch’s lawful authority under the Constitution and a number of statutes duly enacted by Congress.”

The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund are seeking to halt plans for replacement barriers in San Diego and Calexico.

The government has waived environmental reviews seven times under a 2005 law to speed construction of border barriers, including twice under Trump. The law allows the government to waive dozens of laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires extensive reviews of environmental impacts.

©2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.