Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Censored: Homeland Security waives NAGPRA and 35 other laws

By Brenda Norrell

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has waived NAGPRA and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, among 36 federal laws waived, to build the US/Mexico border wall.
Why is there no outrage from American Indian Nations, National Congress of American Indians or the American Indian media?

Letter from Congressman Raul Grijalva:
Dear Colleague,
On April 1, 2008, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed a waiver of 36 separate laws to pave the way for border walls and fences along 470 miles of the southwest U.S. border. The laws waived include the:
- Endangered Species Act,
- Clean Water Act, - Clean Air Act,
- CERCLA (the Superfund Act),
- Archaeological Resources Protection Act,
- National Park Service Organic Act,
- Wilderness Act,
- NAGPRA,
- American Indian Religious Freedom Act,
- and 27 other major public laws.
Unfortunately and incredibly, this was no April Fools' joke. Secretary Chertoff's action severely compromises decades of environmental stewardship, public health and safety, the integrity of our public lands, and our Nation's obligations to Indian tribes. We all recognize the urgent need to secure and control our nation's borders, but we cannot allow this Administration to run roughshod over the rule of law.It is with particular urgency that I ask you to join me in co-sponsoring H.R. 2593, the Borderlands Conservation and Security Act, which I introduced on June 6, 2007.
This bill strikes the smart balance missing from our current border policy. H.R. 2593 gives federal border enforcement agents the tools and options they need to do a difficult job, while upholding environmental protection laws and respecting local, state, and tribal governments, by: ·
Repealing Section 102 of the REAL ID Act, which DHS is now using to waive numerous laws for construction of roads and barriers along the border,·
Mandating joint development of a comprehensive Border Protection Strategy among Executive Branch agencies, including those that manage public lands,·
Providing on-the-ground DHS agents and officials, the men and women most familiar with enforcement needs, with the flexibility to choose appropriate methods of border security,· Respecting tribal sovereignty, requiring DHS to consult with tribal governments before implementing enforcement activities on their lands. Please join me in co-sponsoring the Borderlands Conservation and Security Act.
Should you have any questions regarding the legislation, please contact Gloria Montaño, Gloria.montano@mail.house.gov or my office.
Sincerely,
Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress

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