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Wall would hurt wildlife

Last month President Trump visited southern California to view prototypes of his proposed border wall between United States and Mexico. A wall which the Trump administration has asked Congress to set aside $18 billion over the next 10 years. We know the damage this wall can do in terms of international relations, families, and human suffering, but what about wildlife? Like human health, it also places wildlife at risk too!

One of the critical aspects of any wildlife population is the ability to move, migrate and transport itself across a landscape. Populations need to have access to other gene pools to keep genetic diversity alive. They need escape routes and to search for fresh food supplies during certain times of the year. All of this and more would be seriously threatened if a border wall were in place. Habitat connectivity is essential for species survival. When you consider the impact this step alone could have on already endangered species, we could have a real biodiversity die-off affecting species such as the jaguar, Mexican gray wolf, ocelot, and Sonoran pronghorn. All could disappear.

In addition, border construction can be exempted from all federal, state or local laws by waivers under the 2005 REAL ID Act. Since this act was passed, the Department of Homeland Security has waived 37 laws. But the threats don’t end there. In 2017, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas introduced in Congress, H.R. 3548, a bill entitled the Border Security for America Act. This bill would facilitate construction of infrastructure, roads, surveillance stations, and more all within 100 miles of any American border without any environmental or other regulatory laws. This bill would waive 36 environmental laws, including the Wilderness Act, the Migratory Bird Act, the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act and more.

Dear citizens, we need to take these threats seriously. Please urge our Congressional Delegation not to support the funding or construction of this wall or the passage of this legislation. This is a manmade problem; our wildlife and environment should not suffer because of it.

— Clint Nagel, Bozeman

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