Proposed walls would dissect national monument, wildlife refuge

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*NEW* DHS Document Reveals Locations for 213 Miles of Border Wall Construction Across Three Border States

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Arizona– A newly-obtained letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of Defense requests use of billions of dollars in military funds to build new border walls as part of the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration at the border. According to the document, 213 miles of new and replacement border walls, floodlights and surveillance equipment would be imposed on communities and landscapes in California, Arizona and New Mexico– including a wall that would block the San Pedro River, one of Arizona’s last remaining free-flowing waterways. Find the original document and summary of its meaning here. See maps of the proposed border wall construction areas: Yuma 1, Yuma 2 and El Paso.

In response, representatives at the Sierra Club released the following statements:

“The irony of using our national security budget to divide communities, destroy wildlife habitat and cut us off from our public lands is atrocious. The only crisis on the border is the one this administration is creating by building these barriers and stripping people of their rights and protection under the law. We cannot allow Trump to illegally steal taxpayer dollars in an attempt to militarize safe places and build more walls through our most precious American landscapes,” said Richard Guerrero, LCDR, USN (Ret.) and Sierra Club Borderlands Activist.

“If Donald Trump steals billions of dollars from our service members and chooses to throw them away on hundreds of miles of wall, the loss will mean more than budget cuts. The environmental and social impacts of these new barriers will be devastating,” said Dan Millis of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter and Borderlands Program. “Endangered species like the Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican gray wolf and the jaguar could disappear from the United States. Precious places such as Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would be decimated by an enormous eyesore. Walls don’t solve problems. They cause flooding and sabotage wildlife protection efforts. We cannot allow Trump’s xenophobic, backward agenda go any farther. The damage will be irreversible.”

Background

Still unannounced which parts of the military’s budget will now be spent on border walls, the Defense Department released a fact sheet in February listing projects that could be on the chopping block: construction money for Army, Navy, and Air Force, Army and Air National Guards, Army, Naval and Air Force Reserves. Various Defense agencies like Health and Education also appear on the list as potentially being cut — totaling nearly 13 billion dollars.

In a separate letter, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan specified that he would allow DHS to raid up to one billion dollars of military funds for imposition of the first 57 miles of walls in New Mexico and Southwest Arizona, and that they would be 18 feet tall. New walls would block Arizona residents from accessing the Colorado River, and destroy a key wildlife migration corridor used by the endangered Mexican gray wolf to access Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

  • Dan Millis
  • Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter
  • Borderlands Program Manager
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Jana Segal
While tending my desert garden, I became a sort of citizen scientist observing the impact of rising temperatures and declining rainfall in Tucson. I’m convinced we need to do everything we can to lessen the impact of climate change now. I share my journey to living a more sustainable lifestyle on my blog Sustainable Living Tucson. That includes blogging about what I have learned about sustainable practices like water-harvesting and clean energy. I am currently writing a play about Tucson feeling the impact of climate change. As a member of Sustainable Tucson’s core team, I help to organize programs on sustainable practices and environmental issues. I was invited to attend the Pima Department of Environmental Quality's Green Infrastructure planning meetings as a citizen advocate – after speaking up at City Council and Board of Supervisors meetings. Sustainable Tucson’s advocacy team recently fought the installation of 10 natural gas generators at the Irvington plant. I also rally my friends on social media to become active too by posting Calls to Action from my blog Desktop Activist Tucson.