WASHINGTON — In a rebuff to California officials and environmentalists, the Bush administration cleared the way Wednesday for completion of a 14-mile-long border fence that will run through coastal wetlands to the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.Next, the article goes on to detail various environmental whining about the fence, before a very revealing quote:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived environmental laws for the first time since Congress gave him that authority in May. Finishing the last 3.5 miles of fence is expected to cost about $32 million.
Combined with older existing fencing along the Mexican border, Chertoff said, the newly completed fence will form a security corridor — including two new roads, additional fencing, stadium-style lighting and surveillance cameras — for U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar said agents would then have 200 acres to patrol, not 2,000.
"Bottom line, this is about border security," Aguilar told reporters. "We're addressing the vulnerabilities here" in closing a border to potential terrorists.
Reducing the territory that needs patrolling also will deter illegal immigration because of the "certainty of arrest in that zone," he said.
Aguilar pledged that border agents would be "good stewards of the environment," and he blamed much of the area's degradation on border crossers who hide in the wetlands and litter in the area.
With Chertoff's announcement, the department formally waived enforcement of environmental and other laws that had delayed or threatened to delay the project.
In a statement issued by his office, Chertoff promised to "act in an environmentally responsible manner consistent with the security needs of the nation."
Aguilar said Chertoff's action — which goes into effect Friday when it is published in the Federal Register — did "not mean we want to build a wall around the Southwest border."LA Times reporter: Umm, can I get a quote about the actual environment, or did I accidentally call a border security expert?
Some environmental and human rights groups think the government is planning nothing less.
"Alarmingly, it does appear that the U.S. government is moving toward constructing a series of mega-fences along the border," said Peter Galvin, director of conservation in San Francisco for the Center for Biological Diversity. "These massive fence projects don't actually cut the number of people crossing, just the location."
When border agents plug a security hole in California, he said, it pushes illegal immigrants to the east, where they encounter harsh, sometimes deadly conditions in the desert.
As for environmental implications, he said, "sealing off the biology between the United States and Mexico is a disaster. These animals don't know political boundaries."
Church of England bishops have suggested Christian leaders apologise to Muslim leaders for the war in Iraq.Bishops suggest apology for war
A report from a working group of bishops says the war was one of a "long litany of errors" relating to Iraq.
As the government is unlikely to offer an apology, a meeting of religious leaders would provide a "public act of institutional repentance", it said.
It urges a "truth and reconciliation" meeting, but acknowledges that arranging it could be difficult.
The report, entitled Countering Terrorism: Power, Violence and Democracy Post 9/11 [PDF], was written by a working group of the Church of England's House of Bishops.
It suggests the meeting would be an opportunity to apologise for the way the West has contributed to the situation in Iraq, including the war.
Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, is up for reelection in November 2006. She won narrowly twice, thanks to her political base, New Orleans. Her chance for reelection was destroyed along with that city.The article goes on at length; click the link above to finish it. Here's hoping Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco's careers are also over.
Because she and others failed to strengthen the levees and to prepare New Orleans for a hurricane above category 3.
Louisiana is a red state. But, until recently it had not elected a Republican Senator since Reconstruction. By 2007, however, it should have two and Mary Landrieu's Senate career should be through.
On August 28, 2005, before the levees broke, Senator Landrieu was complimenting Governor Blanco and local officials for "tremendous" preparation and focused on Louisiana's eroding wetlands, not the levees and protecting New Orleans from a hurricane above category 3: