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August 31, 2020

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Trump Administration Delays Border Wall at San Pedro River and Other Arizona Sites

August 15, 2019

I've got links to a couple of local articles here, Shar Poirer from the Sierra Vista Daily Herald, and Harry Brean from the Arizona Daily Star. Both discuss a decision by the Trump Administration to  delay border wall construction through three Arizona preserves as a federal court considers a legal challenge from conservation groups. The three preserves are the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and across the San Pedro River in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and several other well known NGOs filed for an emergency injunction last week seeking to block the start of construction. Obviously this won't be the first legal challenge to this project. I think it's ironic that it comes on the heels of the recently released Record of Decision for the SPRNCA Approved Resource Management Plan. 


According to the Tucson Sentinel, in an article published 8/14/19, in a July 3rd, 2019 response to a request for public input and input from other federal agencies from Customs and Border Protection, Scott Feldhausen, the district manager for the Bureau of Land Management's Gila District, responded by saying in a letter to CBP that a proposed border wall across the San Pedro would be "an engineering challenge" and could affect how the river flows. "This extreme flow regime, coupled with the seasonal variability associated with summer monsoons, make installation of permanent, yet permeable, barrier an engineering challenge," Feldhausen wrote. He also wrote that plans to replace vehicle barriers with bollard walls along 20 miles of border, from the Douglas port of entry to the New Mexico state line could "cause backflow and erosion that could impact both natural resources and the border barrier itself." And, he questioned how these plans would affect five species, including the northern jaguar. "Impermeable barriers may block corridors of movement for these species," 


It's never good when federal agencies are at odds with one another, although it happens more often than most people realize. 


Link to the Tucson Sentinel


Link to the Arizona Daily Star


Link to the Daily Herald

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