Congresswoman Chellie Pingree today voiced her opposition to a bill that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to ignore 36 federal environmental laws within 100 miles of an international border or shoreline. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the zone would cover the entire state of Maine.
"If this law goes through, basically the entire state of Maine has no protection from letting the agency do whatever it wants to on our lands, air, and water," said Pingree. "I just don't see how protecting endangered species and clean water stands in the way of national security."
Laws that Homeland Security would be excluded from include: the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and Coastal Zone Management Act.
"We should certainly do everything to tighten our borders and make sure agencies are working together. But that doesn't mean we should give Homeland Security the power to damage our environment and our way of life while they do it," said Pingree. "These laws protect us as well as the environment. We shouldn't allow the federal government to break them when they're inconvenient. It's just a bad idea and sets a terrible precedent. Besides, there are a lot more important things we should be working on right now."