Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Border walls on San Pedro River must be stopped

Feds shouldn't wall the San Pedro River

UPDATE, 11/2: WASHINGTON -- Greens challenge constitutionality of REAL ID waiver.

UPDATE, 10/18: TUCSON -- Read this High Country News article.

UPDATE, 10/17: LOS ANGELES -- LA Times editorial by Ruben Martinez.

UPDATE, 10/14: WASHINGTON -- Bush/Cheney/Chertoff may ignore court and void judge's order using Real ID act powers.

UPDATE, 10/10: WASHINGTON -- Good news. Today the court ruled to halt construction of the border wall on the San Pedro River. Read more.

“We just want the government to follow the law,” said Sean Sullivan with the Sierra Club’s Tucson-based Rincon (southeastern Arizona) Group. “We believe we can secure our borders without permanently destroying America’s special places such as the San Pedro National Conservation Area. There are less destructive alternatives which the Border Patrol should be allowed to use.”

UPDATE, 10/8: WASHINGTON -- Fed court in DC may halt border wall across river this week. Go, Segee!

Arizona Republic, 10/6: "The Arizona border is being walled off right now, and it's being done without the government taking into consideration the impacts to wildlife," said Brian Segee, staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife.

UPDATE, 10/5: WASHINGTON -- Today, green groups were forced to go to court and file for a temporary restraining order, which would immediately halt construction on a damaging segment of border wall along the Arizona-Sonora border in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

"The government has willingly continued construction of the border wall in the San Pedro National Conservation Area, despite having received our appeal on Monday. If we don’t ask for this temporary restraining order now, our arguments will never be heard and it will be too late for the San Pedro and the wildlife that rely on it,” said Sean Sullivan with the Sierra Club’s Tucson-based Rincon (southeastern Arizona) Group. “The bottom line is that there needs to be a comprehensive assessment done before breaking ground on projects such as this. Following the processes that have been on the books for many years will ensure that our national treasures are protected, and that is what we are trying to accomplish today.”


UPDATE, 10/1: WASHINGTON -- Today, a legal appeal against border walls across the San Pedro River was filed with BLM by Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club.

Nice work, Brian Segee.

"The San Pedro National Conservation Area is an irreplaceable national treasure. Putting a fence right through the middle of it will rob America of one of its most important wildlife areas, but it won't make America any safer," says Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife. "The decision to build a wall in this unique area points out the absurdity of the government's ill-conceived approach to securing America's borders. Meanwhile, the government isn't even considering the cumulative impacts of these wall segments on wildlife and habitat. They haven't taken a step back to look at the whole picture—and right now that picture looks bleak."

"...Arizona is the place where bulldozers are tearing up the borderland as we speak," says Sean Sullivan, executive committee member for the Tucson-based Sierra Club Rincon (Southern Arizona) Group. "...the government has a responsibility to make sure its actions are thoroughly examined before it starts any new projects, especially in areas as sensitive as the San Pedro.


9/30, BISBEE AZ -- The bumbling, out-of-control and reckless Bush/Cheney/Chertoff Department of Homeland Security-Border Patrol has plans to try to wall off the San Pedro River, a top big money eco-tourism site, and one of the most important rivers left for wildlife in the American southwest.

The San Pedro River flows north from Sonora, Mexico in to Cochise County, Arizona, within US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-AZ) CD8.

Much of the river within Cochise County, including at the US-Mexico border, is supposed to be protected as the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, within BLM's National Landscape Conservation System.

Big construction corporations friendly with the Bush/Cheney DHS are making tons of money from federal wall contracts, an important political fact pushing border militarization projects, most of which will fail.

Trying to barricade and wall the San Pedro River will not work to stop illegal immigration, but would deeply harm the desert stream web-of-life.

People don't want a new Berlin Wall on the San Pedro. This absurd border militarization folly must be stopped.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting my LiveJournal and leaving the comment.

Your site is great! Keep up the good work! I have a connection to north central AZ - went to grad school in Prescott.

I need to learn more about Richardson. I just can't get enthusiastic about any of the big three Dems. I like Richardson in general but don't know enough about him. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

be said...

the wall should be stopped - communities of wildlife, as well as communities of people are being split and obstructed.

it continues to amaze me how the militarization of the border is taking place. these are not solutions. they don't work - they drive families of women and children further underground into more perilous blackmarkets - they obstruct the movements of the natural world along an important source of water (thus biodiversity) in the desert. they flat don't work at discouraging folk from bypassing a "lawful" process that is so absurdly exclusive, folk are forced to find another way.

if we think that we can continue to solve our problems by marginalizing entire peoples and wildlife communities ~ we're going to be sorely dissappointed.

the wall is a waste of money and time ~ it will come down as every other has ~ it's just a matter of how much we are willing to disgrace ourselves in the mean-time.

Anonymous said...

horrible decision.... these so called enviro groups have unwisely confused supporting an open illegal imigration policy with protecting our environment. a sad day indeed for protecting mother earth from the ireprarable harm by the waste left by millions of human migrants.


The October 11 comment parrots Chertoff's absurd statements that he cares about human life more than lizards, so he will probably use the REAL ID Act to waive all laws to punch the border wall through the San Pedro. First off, if the wall were bringing about environmental benefits he would not need to waive environmental laws. He is confusing a litter-free parking lot with viable habitat that has some litter. Animals can work around discarded water bottles, but if you bulldoze vegetation and silt up rivers you destroy the habitat. The only reason for Chertoff to waive environmental laws is because he knows that the wall cannot be built without violating them.

The "humans vs. lizards" argument is also offensive because it is based on the myth that the wall will save lives. No terrorist has entered the US by crossing the US/Mexico border. Border walls would not have stopped them anyway, as the Border Patrol says that a wall only slows a crosser down by a few minutes. The only impact that the walls built so far have had on human lives is to reroute crossers into the desert, where many of them die of exposure and dehydration. Hundreds die each year. If Chertoff was truly interested in saving lives he would refuse to build the wall.

It is important that we work to oppose the border wall. Contact your elected officials, support the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife in their lawsuits to halt construction in the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, and go to to learn more and find out about opportunities to stand up and be counted.

Ron said...

Refuge land traded for border fence

Buenos Aires to give up 5.8 acres; deal upsets environmental group

The USFWS Region 2 Regional Office staff could have most likely stopped or modified the section of the BANWR fence but chose to trade land instead. The work is progressing on this section of the fence and for a while, some of us thought there might be a chance for a modification of a vehicle barrier and increased surveillance. The BANWR fence will most likely be completed this week or soon after.