For Immediate Release (Thursday, October 11, 2007):
Ken Kramer, 512-476-6962 (office) or 512-626-4204 (cell)
Cyrus Reed, 512-740-4086 (cell)
Donna Hoffman, 512-477-1729 (office) or 512-299-5776 (cell)
Sierra Club Announces Opposition to Border Wall
Environmental Group Concerned
about Wildlife, Other Impacts
(Austin, TX)-The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club
has announced its opposition to the proposed construction
of a wall along parts of the Texas border with Mexico,
citing among its concerns the impact of such a border
wall on wildlife along the Rio Grande.
The Texas state
chapter of the national environmental organization
made its opposition known in formal comments submitted
today to U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP),
part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Last month CBP announced in
the Federal Register its intent to initiate the
process for building 70 miles of "fencing" along
portions of the Texas-Mexico border.
In its comments to CBP the Sierra Club is urging the
federal agency to do the following: (1) Extend the comment deadline past October 15 to
give the public
adequate time to submit comments on the proposed
(2) Hold public "scoping" meetings near the
proposed sites for
construction of a border wall.
(3) Prepare a complete proposed environmental
impact statement (EIS) on
all proposed locations for a border wall in Texas,
rather than the hodgepodge environmental assessment
that the agency is contemplating.
(4) Fully assess and address all the negative
impacts that a border wall
would have on wildlife habitat, migratory birds
and other species, river flows, livestock management,
eco-tourism, local economies, and other aspects of
the border area.
(5) Coordinate border protection efforts with
the work of other federal
and state agency activities in the border area.
(6) Fully consider border protection alternatives
that would not have
the negative impacts of a border wall.
The Executive Committee of the Sierra Club's Lone
Star Chapter, at the urging of its Lower Rio Grande
Valley Regional Group, adopted a formal resolution
against the border wall in August. That resolution
part: "Therefore, be it resolved that the Lone Star
Chapter of the Sierra Club opposes the construction
of a fence or wall along the international boundary
between the United States and Mexico within the state
"Further, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra
Club urges the U. S.
Department of Homeland Security to explore alternative
means to provide border security other than fencing
of the type described in the Secure Fence Act.
endeavor the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club believes
that it is imperative that the Department of Homeland
Security refrain from invoking the Real ID Act and
that the Department instead uphold and obey all of
the laws of the United States of America."
In announcing the submittal of its comments to CBP
on the border wall, Sierra Club state director Ken
Kramer said: "A wall along the Texas-Mexico border
in the Lower Rio Grande Valley would undermine decades
of work to establish a vibrant wildlife corridor on
the Rio Grande. It would be a devastating blow to the
eco-tourism that is so much a part of the Valley economy.
The federal government needs to explore other border
protection alternatives that would not damage the environment
and the economy of the Texas-Mexico border."
Last week the Sierra Club and a wildlife advocacy
group, Defenders of Wildlife, filed for a temporary
restraining order in federal court to temporarily halt
construction of a border wall along the Arizona-Mexico
border until officials could carry out environmental
The Arizona border wall would cut through
the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and
seriously impact wildlife and river flows. Yesterday
the federal judge in that case issued the temporary
In 1999 the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and
Frontera Audubon Society filed suit in federal court
against the then Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) because of INS activities along the Texas-Mexico
border that were damaging to efforts to establish a
wildlife corridor in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
lawsuit ended in a settlement in 2000 in which the
INS agreed that no fences would go up or more lights
would be put up in the 50-mile stretch of the border
that had been targeted for such activities without
a full EIS and an endangered species consultation with
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
New laws passed by
the U.S. Congress since that time have resulted in
a new push for a border wall.
The full text of the Sierra Club comments submitted
today to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including
the resolution of the Lone Star Chapter Executive Committee
in opposition to the border wall, may be found at: