Source: Center for Biological Diversity
May 3, 2017 (San Diego) -- The Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit conservation organization, today filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking public records on whether planned prototypes for President Trump’s border wall in Southern California comply with laws meant to protect wildlife, people and wild places.
Their request this week to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeks records related to border wall prototypes that will reportedly be constructed on federal lands in San Diego County near Otay Mesa. The request seeks the agencies’ documentation of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and other laws in the prototype construction process.
“The public has a right to know if the Trump administration is breaking environmental laws while building these prototype border walls,” said Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center. “If Trump can’t even follow the rules with these small models, what can we expect if he tries to build his wall along 2,000 miles of borderlands?”
On April 12 the Center and Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva sued the Trump administration over the proposed border wall and other border-security measures, calling on federal agencies to conduct an in-depth investigation of the proposal’s environmental impacts. At least 100 species near the border are already endangered, including the Sonoran pronghorn, gray wolf and ocelot. Studies show that border barriers divide natural habitat, affect breeding levels and can make it more difficult for animals to forage for food and water.
Since 2001 — the last time the federal government reviewed environmental impacts on the U.S.-Mexico border — enforcement programs and associated environmental impacts have increased exponentially, including the deployment of thousands of new border agents, construction of hundreds of miles of border walls and fences, construction of thousands of miles of roads, the installation of operating camps and other military and security infrastructure. These physical impediments, as well as 24-hour surveillance lighting and road network all function to block critical movement routes and threaten the survival of numerous species.