Three advocacy groups sued the federal government Thursday to block construction of a border wall with Mexico, alleging that that Trump administration overstepped its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws.
The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund seek to prevent construction of wall prototypes in San Diego before it begins and halt plans for replacement barriers in San Diego and Calexico, California.
The complaint largely mirrors a lawsuit filed by another advocacy group, the Center for Biological Diversity, but the three organizations each say they have hundreds of thousands of members, bringing more attention and resources to a legal fight over one of President Donald Trump’s key campaign pledges.
The government has waived 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.
The lawsuit contends the waiver authority expired in 2008, when the government met congressional requirements for additional border barriers.