The federal Bureau of Land Management said on Tuesday that it has transferred over 65 acres of public land in Arizona and New Mexico to the Army for construction of border wall infrastructure.
The agency says it’s now handing over 53 acres in Yuma County, Arizona, that is needed to install power and other utilities around the border wall there.
Another 12.7 acres in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, were transferred so that the Army could install utilities along with engineering or roads that provide access to the border wall project there.
This marks the second time in the past year that the agency has transferred public land to the military for border wall-related construction. The first was in September 2019, when it transferred 560 acres in the same two states.
William Perry Pendley, the agency’s deputy director for programs and policy, said the agency has prioritized working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and the military to minimize impacts on wildlife and natural resources on land it manages.
“Where impacts cannot be avoided, DHS and DOD have demonstrated their commitment to mitigating them,” Pendley said in a statement.
The agency, which manages 245 million acres of public land, says the land transfer is in part because of border security concerns and in response to environmental impacts it says are caused by illegal border crossings.
The Trump administration aims to build 450 miles of barriers along the southern border. Most of the new construction entails 30-foot steel fencing.
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