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Wall lawsuit brought by butterfly conservationists dismissed



The nonprofit association argued that the construction must be stopped to prevent the "seizure and destruction" of its property and the "adverse environmental impacts" of threatened and endangered species and critical habitats.

Judge Richard Leon said the constitutional arguments made by the North American Butterfly Association did not hold up. The association's flagship facility is a 100-acre wildlife center – the National Butterfly Center – just north of the US border in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

"The Fourth Amendment offers little refuge for unenclosed land near one of the country's external borders, "wrote the judge. He also said that it was "preemptive" to claim that the government had deprived the group of property.

The judge also concluded that the Department of Homeland Security Secretary has the authority to issue a waiver for a number of environmental laws for construction in the area, dismissing those claims brought by the association. The waiver "extinguishes" the association's claims, Leon wrote.

The executive director of the National Butterfly Center, Marianna Trevino Wright, told CNN that this is not the end.

"We're going to appeal or refile, absolutely," she said.

The lawsuit was first brought in 201

7 after the government was "on our property cutting our trees," as well as moving habitat and widening a road, Wright says.

Earlier this month, the National Butterfly Center was in spotlight after posting photos of what appeared to be excavation equipment for the first new mile of the wall since President Donald Trump took office. Customs and Border Protection said the first 14 miles would be built in the region near the center.

The agency previously declined to comment due to pending litigation.

The most recent budget passed by the Congress exempts construction on the center's property, but Wright said, "We will be back in the crosshairs in the 2020 budget battle." And she said the national emergency declaration could change everything.

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