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Bypassing Laws to Build Border Fence Puts Endangered Plants, Animals at Risk


Aired 4/19/09

The Department of Homeland Security's recent waiver of laws along hundreds of miles of the U.S. Mexico border puts endangered plant and animal species in Southern California at further risk. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

The Secretary of Homeland Security waived more than 30 laws along 470 miles of the border to clear the path for more border fencing.

The government plans to build fencing and roads in the Otay Wilderness, between Tecate and Jacumba and from the Jacumba Wilderness 45 miles east to Arizona.

Kim Delfino is a director with Defenders of Wildlife . She says Otay Wilderness is one area at risk.

Delfino: In order to qualify as a federally designated wilderness area, it has to be considered very special, very pristine and very intact. And there's not many of those places in the United States. So this project would disrupt and destroy those very unique and special places that we have.

The Otay Wilderness is home to endangered plant and animal species including the Quino butterfly and the California gnatcatcher.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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