Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 22, 2018

Contact: Paulo Lopes, (202) 849-8401 x 105,

Congress to Fund 33 Miles of Environmentally Destructive Border Wall

Famed Butterfly Center Bisected, Wildlife Refuge Spared

WASHINGTON— The spending plan introduced in Congress Wednesday includes $1.6 billion for border enforcement, of which $641 million is for new border wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley. The proposed budget authorizes construction of approximately 33 additional miles of border walls in the coming months, without any meaningful environmental review.

“It’s heartening to see Congress protect the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge but Congress is still funding Trump’s bigotry and racism with additional border wall funding,” said Paulo Lopes, a public lands policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But jaguars and other wildlife can’t get over a wall, no matter what it’s made of. Congress should not sanction the building of border walls and fences on public lands or anywhere else.”

The first planned sections of the Trump border wall would tear through ranchlands, national historic sites and the National Butterfly Center in the Rio Grande Valley. Congress only spared the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge from these destructive construction activities.

“Our environment continues to pay a staggering cost for the border wall and the infrastructure that comes with it,” Lopes said. “Now that Congress has given Trump this down-payment, he’ll only keep demanding more.”

A recent study by the Center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species that would be threatened by wall construction along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

The Center filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s border wall, and will appeal a recent ruling in a separate lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s waiver of dozens of environmental laws to replace border walls near San Diego. The Trump administration is expected to set aside these same laws to speed construction of border barriers in Texas.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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