President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to build a 3,200km wall along the United States border with Mexico.
The order says it is the policy of the administration to “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall.”
It said immediate steps will be taken by the Department of Homeland Security to plan, design and construct the wall. It will be initially paid for through Federal funds and will be planned for in forthcoming Congressional budget requests. It is not clear how long the actual wall will be, as there is some fencing along the border already.
Within the next 180 days a study will be undertaken into the current state of security on the border. US media reports that the US Army Corps will be involved in planning and construction.
Trump has also signed an Executive Order to speed up the environmental review and permit process for high priority infrastructure projects. He says these processes are “severely impeding” critical projects, slowing down the replacement of polluting power plants, leaking pipes, roads and railways.
Other policy changes include a Presidential memorandum the acceleration of work to complete construction of the controversial £3bn Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL).
The 1,886km-long underground pipeline will transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Construction has been dogged by a continuing dispute between the US Army Corps, developer Energy Transfer Partners and the US indigenous community of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Energy Transfer Partners wants to build the pipeline across Lake Oahe, which is owned by Army Corps. The nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said it poses too much of a risk to its sacred land and it had not been properly consulted on the plans.
In the memorandum, Trump directed government, including the US Army Corps, to speed up reviews and approvals for the remaining 10% of the pipeline which is not yet constructed because the dispute hasn’t been resolved.
Another Memorandum gives the go-ahead to start the initial process for approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. The 1,100mile crude oil pipeline will connect production in Canada to US refineries.