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Environmental Rules Waived For Calexico Border Fence Replacement

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday it is lifting environmental restrictions on a section of U.S.-Mexico border region near Calexico, California. The construction project will replace three miles of pedestrian fencing west of the port of entry with new bollard style walls like those in Nogales.

To do so, acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke waived 28 environmental laws in the area. Those laws range from the National Environmental Policy Act to the Clean Water Act to the Archeological Resources Protection Act.

Congress funded the border wall replacement in the DHS Appropriations Act earlier this year.

In a written statement, the agency said the replacement is critical in the Border Patrol's El Centro Sector because 19,400 migrants were captured crossing the border illegally in the region in 2016, and 2,900 pounds of marijuana and 126 pounds of cocaine were seized.

Agency officials declined to be interviewed for this story.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.