Trump’s xenophobic wall, an attack on biodiversity

This video from the USA says about itself:

How Trump’s border wall would disrupt nature

13 April 2018

The environmental impact of border walls, explained.

Read more about the border wall’s effect on wildlife here.

When we talk about the consequences of the proposed wall at the border of the US and Mexico, we usually think in terms of people. But along the political divide are rich pockets of biodiversity, with dwindling populations of species that rely on the ability to move back and forth across the border.

Under the 2005 REAL ID act, the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t have to comply with various environmental laws that might otherwise slow or halt construction in a sensitive area. Laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act — none of those apply to border wall construction.

Several parcels of land, including the National Butterfly Center, a state park, and other areas in the federal wildlife refuge system — are still threatened by wall construction. It could still be years before construction starts in some of these areas — but there’s still a lot we don’t know about the full impact of barriers on biodiversity.

From the American Institute of Biological Sciences in the USA:

Scientists warn that proposed US-Mexico border wall threatens biodiversity, conservation

July 24, 2018

Amidst increased tensions over the US-Mexico border, a multinational group of over 2500 scientists have endorsed an article cautioning that a hardened barrier may produce devastating ecological effects while hampering binational conservation efforts. In the BioScience Viewpoint, a group led by Robert Peters, William J. Ripple, and Jennifer R. B. Miller call attention to ecological disturbances that could affect hundreds of terrestrial and aquatic species, notably including the Mexican gray wolf and Sonoran pronghorn.

The authors argue that the border wall will harm wildlife populations by fragmenting, degrading, and eliminating existing habitat, as well as by blocking species migration. “Our analysis shows that the border bisects the geographic ranges of 1506 native terrestrial and freshwater animal (n = 1077) and plant (n = 429) species”, say the authors, noting that the number includes 62 species already listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Further, the authors express concern that as a result of the 2005 Real ID Act, construction could proceed “without the necessary depth of environmental impact analysis, development of less-damaging alternative strategies, postconstruction environmental monitoring, mitigation, public input, and pursuit of legal remedies.” Compounding the issue of forgone legal protections, Peters and colleagues warn that a border wall could threaten ongoing research and conservation programs, including those in binational habitat corridors and the 18% of borderlands that contain environmentally protected lands.

To mitigate the effects of the proposed wall, the authors make several urgent recommendations to the United States Congress and Department of Homeland Security; these include following existing environmental laws, taking action to mitigate ecological harm, and forgoing physical barriers in particularly sensitive areas. The article` also calls for the government to encourage scientific research in the borderlands, to inform and assist environmental evaluation and mitigation efforts. The authors conclude that “national security can and must be pursued with an approach that preserves our natural heritage.”

TRUMP AGAIN THREATENS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down the federal government ahead of the midterm elections if Democrats do not agree to fund his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The deadline to agree to fresh funding for the government is Sept. 30. He tweeted in 2017 that maybe the country needed a “good shutdown” over wall funding, but backed down. [HuffPost]

TRUMP’S WALL WOULD COST BILLIONS MORE Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border could cost billions of dollars more than initially estimated, a watchdog agency has warned. [HuffPost]

The Trump administration is placing thousands of workplaces across the United States under police surveillance and is drastically expanding plans for military-style raids to arrest and deport immigrant workers: here.

Fines for corporate lawbreakers collapse under Trump: here.

Biodiversity and ecosystem service losses driven by land-use change are expected to intensify as a growing and more affluent global population requires more agricultural and forestry products, and teleconnections in the global economy lead to increasing remote environmental responsibility. By combining global biophysical and economic models, we show that, between the years 2000 and 2011, overall population and economic growth resulted in increasing total impacts on bird diversity and carbon sequestration globally, despite a reduction of land-use impacts per unit of gross domestic product (GDP): here.

56 thoughts on “Trump’s xenophobic wall, an attack on biodiversity

  1. We may be witnessing the end of the Endangered Species Act as we know it.

    The New York Times reported on Monday the Trump administration, polluting interests, and Republican leaders in Congress are all working to radically change the Endangered Species Act and condemn imperiled species to benefit corporate polluters.

    There’s no coming back from extinction. If we allow these laws to be decimated now — some species may never come back from the brink. We can’t let this happen — not without a fight.

    In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy proposals, poison pill riders, and amendments designed to weaken the law and its implementation have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Trump administration.

    The actions included:

    A policy rider to strip protections from the gray wolf in Wyoming and along the Great Lakes;

    A plan to keep the greater sage-grouse, a bird that inhabits the sagebrush habitat in the West, from being listed as endangered for the next decade, regardless of whether or not listing is necessary to save the species;

    A measure to remove from the endangered species list the American burying beetle, an orange-flecked insect, even though the science shows that the species has not yet recovered.

    The Endangered Species Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1973. The law has been credited with the resurgence of the American alligator, which had been hunted to near extinction for the use of its skin in purses and other goods; the gray whale, depleted by commercial fishing in parts of the Pacific Ocean; and the bald eagle, which is flourishing again after nearly disappearing from much of the United States.

    Bottom line, the Endangered Species Act works. It is one of conservation’s greatest success stories. The bald eagle is just one of the species experiencing a rebound thanks to the Endangered Species Act.

    Please, don’t sit on the sidelines. Now is the time to act — and the best way for you to get involved in this fight is to renew your LCV membership for just $5 today. Every gift will be tripled »

    This is a fight we can win. The League of Conservation Voters has been winning against the Trump administration for months — from the resignation of Scott Pruitt to the blocking of EPA nominees and circuit court judges, LCV knows what it takes to win.

    Republicans also added at least nine endangered species-related amendments to the spending bill that funds the Interior Department and the EPA. Among other provisions, that bill would also prohibit the Interior Department from reintroducing the endangered grizzly bear into the North Cascades ecosystem of Washington state.

    Help us win. Don’t miss this opportunity to play a part in protecting the Endangered Species Act. Please renew your membership for $5 today »

    Thank you for all you do.

    Gene Karpinski
    League of Conservation Voters


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