It’s a strange time to be alive. We lobby aggressively for a
federal germ lab that the Feds themselves say would pose less
risk if it were kept on the other side of the country. We practically build
ourselves out of our own economy by threatening the military
with encroaching suburbs that gas prices will make unlivable in a few
years. And we grant
Homeland Security the powers to ignore all controls regarding
the safe construction of a wall that will cede untold acreage to a No
Man’s Land between the Rio Grande and us: another move the
Feds are sadly shaking their heads over.
What a species we make.
And despite Congress’s granting Homeland Security Czar
Michael Chertoff these supra-Constitutional
powers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still has to
review the über-agency’s environmental
assessments of proposed sections from the Valley to El Paso.
Unsurprisingly, they gave it an "Incomplete" — with a laundry
lists of concerns tacked on. [The bureaucratese rating is
“EC-2, Environmental Concerns–Insufficient
In three undated documents, the EPA chief of planning and coordination
for Region 6, Cathy Gilmore, wrote* that Homeland had not done its
homework in explaining the potential impacts the
wall/fence/wire/roads/lights etc. would have on land, air, water,
wildlife, and cultural and historic sites, including Native American
Gilmore writes: “It is unclear why an EIS was prepared for 21
miles of segmented fence in the Lower Rio Grande Valley Sector, but not
for 56 miles of unbroken fence in the El Paso Sector.”
It’s a wonder they did the EIS thing at all for the Lower
Grand Valley considering they had the Congressionally granted Real ID
Act provisions to fall back on exempting them from virtually every
other federal law. I mean, would you rumble-and-jerk through a 20-hour
jam-up during hurricane season if you had clear skies and your own
private HOV lane?
• Failure to equally analyze
alternatives. There is also text that implies that the "No Action
Alternative" is not a viable alternative.
• No mention of how the wall
would impact water quality.
• Use of terms like
“minor, major, perceptible, short-term, and
long-term.” There are qualitative descriptions of these
terms, but there is no quantitative description or attempt to quantify
• No mention of US-Mexico
treaties and whether they will be impacted.
• No discussion of the fence's
potential impact on migratory species or impact to their home range, in
particular, large mammal species (e.g., deer or carnivores) or birds.
• No discussion of the U. S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) initiative to purchase land to connect
units of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge (LRGVNWR)
(p. 3-30 line 4-10) or the potential impacts of the fence to this large
scale effort to increase connectivity and reduce habitat fragmentation.
• Related to the location of the
fence and property of individuals, the maps created by DHS show that
the fence could run straight through houses and backyards. Many
families have lived at these locations for decades, some even
centuries, and have strong emotional ties to the family land and homes.
The fence could also cut farmers off from prime farmland close to the
It is unclear that these findings have any relevance in the
down-to-the-wire effort to stop the wall other than providing opponents
with increasing ammunition to damn Homeland plans with.
Still, even wtih theSupreme Courts refusal to hear the appeal on the
unconstitutionality of the Real ID Act, there may be a wild card out
there yet coming from El Paso County or the Valley. If not, prepare for
some ugly scenes on la linea as bodies prepare themselves to battle the
Why is securing justice alway such an inequitable physical
* (Ack. She wrote 2 of
the 3 letters.)
If you are a latecomer to this debate, or just curious to see a
right-of-center analysis on the wall, check out "Six
Reasons" the border fence is bad policy from The
This is an extremely important movie showing the tragedy that occurred
in Redford, TX when US marines were dispatched on a clandestine,
military mission in our small community. Militarization of
the US/Mexico Borders is not safe for the people living in border
Schedules for the movie in your local area can be found here.