Government delays border barrier construction in Arizona

National

FILE – This Feb. 17, 2006, file photo, shows a fence separating Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, right, and Sonyota, Mexico, running through Lukeville, Arizona. Environmentalists asked a judge on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, to stop a plan to replace existing vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona, including barriers at Organ Pipe. The groups argue the Trump administration unlawfully waived dozens of laws as part of the project that will ultimately damage wildlife habitat. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

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PHOENIX (AP) — The federal government is delaying construction on parts of the border fence in Arizona because it’s still working on design plans.

Attorneys said in a court filing late Tuesday that plans to replace waist-high barriers this month with taller fencing in a wildlife refuge, national monument and conservation area are being delayed until October.

Authorities plan on using Defense Department funds under President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration.

The Center for Biological Diversity last week asked a federal judge to halt work on 68 miles (109 kilometers) of border wall, saying the government unlawfully waived dozens of laws. Environmentalists say the new barriers will damage wildlife habitat.

The government says the replacement fencing is crucial to national security.

It will proceed with construction on a two-mile stretch near an official border crossing beginning next week.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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