Three federally-protected national conservation areas in the southwestern U.S. face negative environmental consequences from the Trump administration’s border wall expansion, according to The Guardian.
Portions of the Organ Pipe Cactus national monument, Cabeza Prieta national wildlife refuge, and San Pedro Riparian national conservation area will be bulldozed to make room for more than 175 miles of wall expansion along the U.S.-Mexico border. The expansion, which is being funded by $3.6 billion diverted from military construction projects, is now facing protest from environmental groups.
A 2005 law, which grants the Department of Homeland Security the ability to waive environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act in order to create border barriers, has made these decisions possible.
“What is being proposed is bulldozing one of the most biologically diverse regions of the entire United States,” Amanda Munro of the Southwest Environmental Center told The Guardian. “Walling off these precious places would be a colossal mistake and a national tragedy.”
Concerned environmentalists site damage to the aquifer and design flaws in the wall itself as potential threats to the environment. The wall, which is composed of a series of slats designed to allow airflow, easily catches debris and other materials. The barrier is thought to potentially increase flooding and cut animals off from water supplies.