Wildlife Preserve Scores A Victory As Wall Construction Is Delayed At The Border In Arizona

The Trump administration is willfully ignoring environmental laws in an effort to fast-track the building of a border wall through protected lands that would have a serious negative impact on wildlife.

Migration is crucial to many species that live on or near borderlands. It helps create diversity among species and gives them access to seasonal feeding and breeding grounds. But a wall that blocks their path would put an end to all that, and would likely result in more critically endangered species going extinct.

That’s why there has been such a backlash against wall construction by environmental and conservation groups, who filed a lawsuit to stop construction so federal courts can look at Trump’s plan even closer.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity:

The department (Homeland Security) wants to sweep aside these laws to speed construction of border walls through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, Coronado National Memorial and numerous designated wilderness areas. The bollard-style barriers will block wildlife migration, damage ecosystems and harm border communities.

Three of these, Cabeza Prieta, Organ Pipe and the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, are located in Arizona alone.

Despite protests, Trump waived the applicable laws so that construction could begin next week. But a judge granted an injunction to temporarily block the project so that more consideration can be given and the court can weigh it on the merits.

“It’s a small but important victory for public lands and wildlife,” Center for Biological Diversity’s Laiken Jordahl said. “Every day the project is delayed is a good day. It will give the judge a chance to rule on the merits of the case before irreparable harm is done.”

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Jean Su vowed to keep fighting and criticized the construction.

“It’s senseless to let bulldozers rip a permanent scar through our borderlands’ wildlife refuges and national monuments before the court decides whether the waiver is legal,” Su said. “Trump’s ignoring laws and diverting funds to build this destructive border wall. His grotesque barrier would destroy some of the border’s most spectacular and biologically diverse places. We’ll do everything in our power to stop that.”

From the Endangered Species Act to public health laws, Trump is ignoring laws passed by Congress to pursue a wall that experts say will not work to actually stop illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Even most property owners on the border oppose it.

And it’s even more important than ever to protect endangered species because the United Nations has warned that one million species face extinction due to human activities.

That means it’s up to every American to stand up and do something about it.

“Every American should be outraged that the border wall in Arizona will be built across some of our most iconic national wildlife refuges and national park lands,” Defender for Wildlife representative Bryan Bird said. “It will tear through lands so precious that Congress chose to protect them for all American’s posterity and enjoyment. Defenders will continue to fight to stop this abuse.”

“These most recent waivers of vital environmental and animal-protection laws demonstrate the administration’s continued disregard for wildlife, including the most fragile species that could be pushed to extinction by these projects,” Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells said. “Building a wall that cuts through the heart of vital federally protected forests, wildlife refuges and conservation areas will have devastating effects on these critical areas and the wildlife that calls these areas their home, which is why we are asking the court to immediately enjoin these border wall-related projects.”

The fact is that a wall is not the answer to our immigration issues. It will only make things worse and cause new problems. The borderlands may just seem like a bunch of desert, but it’s a diverse ecosystem that benefits wildlife just as much as it benefits humans. Destroying ecosystems and habitats would be a tragedy that would haunt us and our children forever. And that’s why this wall construction needs to be permanently stopped.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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