Border Wall Plans Draw Protest at Wildlife Refuge

By Bill O’Neil

Plans for constructing a portion of President Trump’s proposed “border wall” through a wildlife refuge in the Rio Grande Valley are drawing fire from environmentalists.

In fact, critics say the entire conversation really is nothing more than politics.

“They’re trying to give Trump a win, ignoring the fact that they have no measurable impact on immigration or drug smuggling–or anything else they’re supposed to address” said the Sierra Club’s Scott Nichol.

The wall has yet to be formally funded by Congress, however, work could begin as soon as November. Nichol said such construction in a wildlife refuge could have a devastating result.

“The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which runs along the Rio Grande and creates a wildlife corridor for the federally-endangered ocelot” Nichol said, pointing out a number of other species could also be negatively impacted by such construction.

When all is said and done, activists have few legal remedies with which to fight the wall–given the Secretary of Homeland Security’s ability to waive laws in this instance.

“When they do that, the Endangered Species Act doesn’t matter anymore. Anything they fell like they’re probably going to violate they just waive, and they don’t have to worry about any legal repercussions” Nichol said.

Activists are planning a “protest hike” Sunday, August 13that the refuge.



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