DATE: December 6, 2018
SNIP: Bulldozers are expected to soon plow through the protected habitat of the National Butterfly Center along the Rio Grande to clear the way for President Trump’s border wall, which got a green light from the Supreme Court this week.
Hundreds of thousands of butterflies flit through the center’s 100-acre sanctuary in Mission. But 70 percent of the land will eventually be on the other side the wall, said Marianna Wright, the executive director.
Just like farmers get crop yield in acres and inches, we get butterflies based on what we have planted in acres and inches,” Wright said. “So having a wide swath of our property bulldozed is going to negatively impact the volume of the species and diversity of the species.”
The wall could be up to three stories tall, with 18-foot steel beams, called bollards, rising from a concrete base. Construction through the refuge could start in February.
The high court let stand an appeals ruling that lets the administration bypass 28 federal laws, mostly to protect the environment, to build the wall in the Rio Grande Valley. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and two other organizations had sued the government.
Some of the laws that were waived include the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Environmental activists argue the wall could lead to the extinction of endangered species such as the ocelot, contamination of drinking water and destruction of indigenous historical sites.
By waiving requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Trump administration will also be skipping over an analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the wall. The federally regulated analysis also typically offers ways to lessen the harm of projects.