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SVC Applauds Heinrich And Udall Bill To Protect Border Communities, Wildlife, Environment

on February 3, 2019 - 3:29pm
SVC News:
The Southwest Environmental Center applauds New Mexico U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich for introducing legislation to protect our border communities, wildlife and environment from harmful border wall construction.
Statement from Executive Director Kevin Bixby:
We strongly support legislation introduced today by Senators Udall and Heinrich to protect our border communities, wildlife, public lands and environment from Trump’s harmful border wall.
The bill to rescind the outdated authority granted by Congress to the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2005 to waive ANY law—federal, state or local—to expedite construction of border barriers is a huge step towards restoring the rule of law to the border region, and ensuring that border residents can once again enjoy the same bedrock environmental, safety, health, and other protections granted to residents everywhere else in the United States.
The waiver authority, granted in the climate of heightened fear following 9/11, has long outlived whatever usefulness it may have had and yet has been invoked at least three times under the Trump administration to construct costly and unnecessary new border walls, including a 20-mile segment in New Mexico west of Santa Teresa in 2018 built with complete disregard for potential impacts on wildlife, native American graves, and the environment. It is the height of irony that in the name of bringing law and order to the border, by using this waiver authority the administration is literally making the border lawless.
The bill to prevent construction of new border walls in federal wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges, wildlife corridors or on state lands without state permission is a recognition of what biologists and wildlife advocates have long known, that the U.S./Mexico border is a place of exception biological diversity and importance for wildlife, including species such as endangered jaguars, Mexican wolves, Sonoran pronghorn, ocelots and many others. This legislation will ensure that important wildlife corridors will remain open, habitats will remain unfragmented, and wildlife will continue to be able to move freely across the landscape to access the food, water, mates and other resources they need to survive and thrive in the border region and beyond.