| For Immediate Release: March 20, 2006
Contact: Michelle Harrington, Rivers Program Director, 602-628-9909
Group Charges House and Senate Border Bills as Bad for Wildlife
Phoenix, Ariz.—As the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee moves forward with its version of a border bill to add 12,000 Border Patrol agents and utilize fencing in some areas, the House stands ready to wall off 700 miles of the Mexican-American border.
In addition to increased border security, Arizona’s Senator Kyl had added an amendment to the Senate bill that would have specifically walled off sections of Arizona’s border with Mexico.
Kyl later amended his amendment to take 15 miles of fencing out of his original proposal to double- or triple-fence 25 miles of border west of Naco. The original proposal would have blocked off the San Pedro River corridor essential to wildlife movement between the countries, prompting opposition by wildlife advocates.
“The San Pedro River supports more than 80 mammal species, 40 reptilian species and nearly 400 bird species that rely on this corridor for survival and migration. A fence would limit this migration and eventually wipe out some of these species, a tragedy in this biologically rich area,” said Michelle Harrington, Center for Biological Diversity Rivers Program Director.
Added Robin Silver, the Center’s Board Chair, “The only mammals fences don’t keep out are humans.”
Animal migration and disbursement ignores artificial international, state and county boundaries, instead depending on weather, terrain, habitat and competition as limiting factors. The ability to move freely, disburse, feed and breed between connected populations is essential to continued viability of a species.
“As humans, we have responsibilities to one another and to the resources of the planet, including wildlife and habitat. So far, the border bills offered will only increase the degradation of our lands and wildlife with more walls, roads and people in fragile areas. Fair and reasonable treatment, fair assessment of risks and impacts, and an understanding that walls do little to actually stop the adaptive movement of humans must be included in the consideration of all border measures,” said Harrington.
The Center and other public-interest groups will meet with Kyl’s staff in Tucson tomorrow afternoon to push him on border environmental and human rights concerns. The Center is part of a broad coalition which will hold pro-environment and human rights events at Kyl’s Tucson and Phoenix offices Friday 11a.m.-1p.m. Contact Daniel R. Patterson, Desert Ecologist, for info on these two happenings: 520-623-5252 ext. 306.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with over 18,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and their habitat.