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The National Defense Authorization Act is Waived for Border Wall

Every year, federal laws are passed that authorize the annual budget of federal agencies. The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes expenditures for the Department of Defense. Within authorization bills such as the NDAA, there may be provisions with important protections for the environment or wildlife.

The NDAA for the year 2000, for example, had a provision that authorized the Secretary of the Navy to transfer 250 acres of property important for the conservation of fish and wildlife from the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California to the Vernal Pool Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Vernal pools are home to large numbers of endemic species of plants and animals, and this provision was written to protect vernal pool habitats, which are rapidly disappearing in California.

The NDAA provision about the transfer of authority for 250 acres of vernal pool habitat from an air base to a wildlife refuge is one of the 48 federal laws waived to expedite the construction of a wall on our southern border (click here for a list of all 48 laws that have been waived). The result is that the Border Patrol no longer needs to consult with nor abide by the management directions prepared by the U.S. and Fish and Wildlife Service for this fragile habitat. This is one more egregious example of how legal protections for special places are being waived—this law’s jurisdiction is in California, but there is nothing to prevent the same thing happening for important bodies of water in Arizona and other border states in the future.

Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives ( and let them know that you oppose waiving The National Defense Authorization Act (Section 2848 of Part II of Subtitle D of Title XXVII of H.R. 5408) to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.

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