Environmental Impacts Of The Border Wall

The border wall is a controversial project that is quickly becoming a reality. The massive wall along the U.S. - Mexico border threatens communities and wildlife across the ecologically rich region. The borderlands contain a large number of federally protected areas, including National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. These lands are part of America’s wild legacy, and are of significant ecological, educational, historic, cultural, recreational and economic value to the United States and its people.

We want to share a new video called "Wild vs. Wall," from Tucson-based filmmaker Steev Hise. The video details the unique and diverse natural areas along the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and highlights this disregard for long-standing environmental and cultural laws. Above is a great five minute excerpt from the video.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who has said he doesn't think that the wall will work - invoked the REAL ID Act to build the wall, waiving three dozen longstanding laws in the process:"Section 102 of REAL ID gives unprecedented power to a politically appointed individual (Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) to waive all local, state, and federal laws in order to facilitate the construction of infrastructure along all U.S. borders." Source::Sierra Club.

These mega-waivers disregarded any environmental impact assessment and public comments in order to fast-track construction of the wall. Laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act are part of America’s enduring legal framework, and no agency or public official should be allowed to ignore them.

Last week it was revealed that the wall is also running into extensive delays and soaring costs.

"This is a tough issue that many groups and individuals have been reluctant to address," said Sean Sullivan, Chair of the Sierra Club Borderlands Committee. "But we think it is imperative to call attention to the devastation and also enlist support for protecting these sensitive lands."

The full video is 20 minutes long and available from our Arizona Chapter. To learn more about the issue and order the video, check out our Arizona Chapter Border Policy Campaign page.

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