President Donald J. Trump has pledged to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, adding a layer of security between the countries to thwart the efforts of illegal border crossers and drug cartels. But if the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) has its way, the wall cannot go through its 100-acre wildlife center and botanical garden in Texas.
The Butterfly Center in South Texas abuts the Rio Grande, and is part of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Wildlife Corridor. NABA has sued the Trump administration over plans to build the border wall through the area, filing a 20-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to a report in The Hill.
After former DHS Secretary John Kelly issued a memo directing Customs and Border Protection to begin plans for the wall, NABA says planning, design, construction and maintenance of the wall began on its property without warning. They’re asking the court to block the administration from building the wall and to comply with the National Environmental Policy and Endangered Species Acts, and in implementing regulations for those laws.
According to the NABA, the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas has the most diverse butterfly and bird fauna of any area of the United States. The proposed border wall construction would cut off two-thirds of its property, damage the Butterfly Center, create a 70-acre no man’s land between the wall and the Rio Grande and obliterate $450 million in ecotourism which aids the economically disadvantaged area.
“The Butterfly Center is the premier place in the United States to see and learn about wild butterflies,” NABA said in its lawsuit. ”It is visited by tens of thousands of people each year, including thousands of local schoolchildren. On a given day, one can see 100 species of wild and as many as 200,000 individual butterflies, none of which is held in captivity at the Butterfly Center.”
The Center for Biological Diversity has also sued the Trump administration over the proposed wall. In April, the group said the Department of Homeland Security must draft a new environmental review to examine the impacts of the wall.
About 400 species of birds, along with the Texas tortoise and the Texas indigo snake are about to lose their homes to the border wall, claims Marianna Trevino-Wright, the executive director of the National Butterfly Center, in the video below.
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