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Judge Tosses Challenge |To Arizona Border Fence

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge in the District of Columbia rejected environmentalists' bid to block the construction of a fence along a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona's San Pedro National Conservation Area, saying it was a decision better left to the executive branch.

"The construction of the border fence pertains to both foreign affairs and immigration control - areas over which the executive branch traditionally exercises independent constitutional authority," U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle wrote.

Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club argued that the fence would harm wildlife in the conservation area, described as "one of the most biologically diverse areas of the United States." Government officials, however, deemed it an "area of high illegal entry."

The environmental groups sued the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whom they accused of improperly waiving environmental rules to speed up the fence-building process.

Plaintiffs are considering appealing the case to the Supreme Court, the Washington Times reports. See ruling.

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