Ral Grijalva of Arizona joins Center for Biological Diversity in call for environmental analysis that could delay any building for several years
A US congressman and environmental group have filed the first suit targeting Donald Trumps plan to build a 30 ft wall on the US-Mexico border.
The suit, brought by Congressman Ral M Grijalva of Arizona and the Center for Biological Diversity in the US district court for Arizona, seeks to require the government to undertake a comprehensive environmental impact analysis before beginning construction.
Such a review would probably take several years to complete, delaying indefinitely the fulfillment of one of Trumps signature campaign promises.
It will take a significant amount of time to thoroughly analyze[ the impacts of the wall ], and thats the degree, told Randy Serraglio, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity.
What we learned about the border wall in the past 10 times is that its tremendously expensive, it doesnt work, and it does a tremendous quantity of damage, Serraglio told. The people in the United States have the right to know what the damage “re gonna be all”, what its going to cost, and whether its going to be effective. Those are topics the Trump administration is not interested in answering.
The lawsuit invokes the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires environmental its consideration of major federal programs.
The Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, which are named as defendants, declined to comment on pending litigation.
Trump began his presidential campaign in June 2015 with the promise of a border wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, whom he characterized as criminals and rapists. In the first week of his government, he signed an executive ordering calling for homeland security to begin immediate construction of the wall.
Homeland Security had now been begun a bidding process for contractors to build prototypes for the multibillion-dollar programme. Still, a lack of interest from major building firms and a lack of funding from Congress may mean that the proposal never moves beyond a border wall beauty pageant expected to take place in San Diego this summer.
American environmental laws are some of the oldest and most powerful in “the worlds”, and they should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else, Grijalva, a Democrat, said in a statement. These laws exist to protect the health and well-being of our people, our wildlife, and the places they live. Trumps wall and his fanatical approach to our southern margin will do little more than perpetuate human suffering while irrevocably damaging our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them.
Serraglio said the existing margin barrier had already made significant environmental damage, including flooding and eroding.
In July 2008, a heavy thunderstorm produced a damaging flash flood at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona after the border barrier prevented water from flowing away naturally.
On the same day, margin infrastructure was responsible for the deaths of two people and$ 8m in injury to Nogales, Mexico, when water was trapped on the south side of the border.
Expanding construction on the border could exacerbate the flooding problems, in addition to threatening the survival of species such as jaguars, ocelots, and wolves, Serraglio told. Additional environmental degradation would probably be caused by the construction of new streets and infrastructure to enable construction of the wall in remote wilderness regions.
The Department of Homeland Security produced an environmental impact statement about margin enforcement the programmes in 2001.
Thursdays suit is not the first time Trumps policies have attracted legal challenges. Both of Trumps attempts to impose a traveling forbidding on several Muslim-majority countries have been blocked by federal judges. On 5 April, 17 governments sued to attempt to block Trumps efforts to rescind climate change regulations.
Whats happening now is not driven by any rational analysis of margin security needs, told Serraglio. Its driving in Donald Trumps ludicrous campaign rhetoric, and that is not a sound basis for public policy.