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Border Wall Funding Blocked in TX

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Earlier this week, a U.S. federal judge blocked the Trump administration from transferring $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds for the construction of border wall along the southern border.

The ruling is reported to be a legal setback for President Donald J. Trump, whose administration has vowed to build at least 450 miles of border wall by November 2020.

Border Wall Saga

In September 2017, the first border wall contracts were awarded to four different companies to develop prototypes that would work in conjunction with the border in the San Diego area. U.S. special forces spent weeks attempting to breach the eight prototype models of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, which proved to withstand jackhammers, torches and climbing tools.

tzahiV / Getty Images

Earlier this week, a U.S. federal judge blocked the Trump administration from transferring $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds for the construction of border wall along the southern border.

Since then, the government has worked to speed up the project. In October 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that any environmental regulations regarding the construction or repair of a section of the border wall for certain areas in Texas would be waived, drawing ire from environmentalists and private property owners alike. The announcement detailed exemptions in Cameron County; another announcement made the following day detailed similar measures for Hidalgo County.

And in December 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the beginning of construction of a series of border wall gates in the Rio Grande Valley sector.

But in January, a report revealed that all eight border wall prototypes, inspected by President Trump last March, were susceptible to breaching. Several million in other contracts for other border wall work had also been awarded elsewhere. In March, the border wall prototypes were demolished.

Toward the end of May, a judge blocked Trump’s use of money originally intended for military funding, for work on the border wall. The injunction only accounted for roughly $1 billion in funding for the border wall, money that the Department of Defense had funneled away from Army personnel to the Department of Homeland Security.

In July, over a week after a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion in funding for the border wall, CBP and the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $33 million contract for four miles of border wall work in Texas. Environmental regulations for that section of structure were also waived. August also saw the award of another $305 million in contracts.

In September, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved $3.6 billion in funding—largely pulled from military construction projects, including housing—to go toward building 175 miles of the border wall. At the end of that same month, Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, reported that roughly a mile of border wall is being built every day.

Additionally, in November, Trump allowed for construction to begin on a section of the wall in Texas without customary environmental reviews.

In the latest waiver, more than 30 regulations were dismissed, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The waiver applies to border wall set to go up in the Rio Grande Valley sector, one of the busiest regions along the border.

Earlier this month, funding stemming from canceled military projects was assigned to three new contracts for the construction of over 30 miles of replacement fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, totaling $316 million in work.

Recently Blocked Funding

Judge David Briones, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, announced on Tuesday (Dec. 10) that the Trump administration is prohibited from using military construction funds to build additional barriers on the southern border.

Reports indicate that the Trump administration has already received $1.37 billion from Congress for the endeavor.

The lawsuit was brought to Judge Briones by El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights, which argued that Trump had overstepped his authority in issuing a national emergency declaration for additional funding for the construction of the border wall.

Additionally, the 21-page opinion alleges that the declaration fails to meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency.”

As a result of the ruling, Pentagon spokesperson Chris Mitchell issued a statement saying, “DoD is evaluating the injunction right now, and will work with the Department of Justice on the next steps. DoD will comply with all court orders.”

CNN reports that the ruling doesn’t affect the use of other funds for the border wall project, and includes counter-drug and Treasury Forfeiture Funds, which have already been designated for wall construction.

   

Tagged categories: Government; Government contracts; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; President Trump; Program/Project Management; Project Management

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (12/12/2019, 7:37 AM)

I'm puzzled this article seems to be saying that the 8 prototypes resisted breaching. The actual results: All 8 were breached, none were even tested for tunneling (which was supposed to be a major feature in the requirements)


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