SWEC Asks Help Fighting Border Fence

April 29, 2008

On April 1, for the fourth time in the past 2 years, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used his authority to waive more than 30 environmental laws to expedite building 370 miles worth of new fencing along the U.S. Mexico border, including 57 miles of continuous wire mesh fencing and 21 miles of high-powered lighting from El Paso downstream along the Rio Grande. Being faced with growing and unexpectedly fierce opposition, DHS is cutting every corner in an attempt to complete 700 miles worth of fencing before the Bush Administration is out of office.

If DHS moves forward with fence construction before proper environmental analysis is completed, there will be serious impacts to wildlife and their habitats in the borderland region, including areas such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the Lower Rio Grande Valley Wildlife Refuge, and the Rio Grande near El Paso. Within these areas live a number of endangered and threatened species, including jaguar, ocelot, Gila monster, and Sonoran pronghorn. The Rio Grande is an extraordinarily important area for wildlife in the Chihuahuan Desert, and an important migratory flyway for birds. The proposed fence will block wildlife access and passage, and the proposed lights could adversely affect migratory birds.

We can’t allow the DHS to continue down this path.  We need a comprehensive approach to border security that addresses root causes, is effective, and does not cause harm to border wildlife and ecosystems.

Unfortunately, Congress is not likely to act in this election year without significant outside pressure. This is a states’ rights issue as much as an environmental one. That’s why we are calling on our members who live in border states to contact their governors.

Please take a moment to call Gov. Bill Richardson (505 476-2200)  and urge him to call on Congress to implement a moratorium on additional fence building along the U.S. Mexico border until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducts proper environmental analysis and allows for orderly public input. (Texas Residents) – Call Governor Rich Perry (512 463-1782)

After calling your governor, please email “I did it” to aguss@wildmesquite.org

Key Reasons to Take Action:

DHS has bypassed more than 30 environmental laws to hurry construction of the border fence, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act.

DHS needs to conduct proper environmental analysis and needs to allow orderly public input before moving forward with fence construction.

The Border Fence will have serious impacts on wildlife in the border region, and will do little to combat illegal border crossings.
DHS is clearly trying to rush completion of the fence before the Bush Administration is out of office.

For more information, contact Adam at (575) 522-5552.

Global Warming talk in Las Cruces–May 2

Ken Hughes will be making a presentation entitled “Acting Locally on Global Warming”, on Friday May 2nd at 3:00 pm, at Branigan Library.  Ken Hughes is the Clean Energy Specialist at the Energy Conservation and Management Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.  The talk will include discussion of the relationship between land use planning and climate change. Sponsored by the New Mexico Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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