Response to Customs and Border Protection’s “RGV Border Barrier System Project” request for comments
The Following are Bullet Points to Help You Respond to Customs and Border Protection’s “RGV Border Barrier Systems Project” Deadline Sep 15, 2023
- Proposed walls in Starr County (20 miles) will cause significant damage to communities along the Rio Grande, including private property owners who will have land condemned and lose access to the river which has been the lifeblood of these communities for more than 200 years.
- Environmental impacts of proposed Starr County walls will be devastating. The construction, the walls themselves, the cleared “enforcements zones”, the roads and the floodlights will significantly impact wildlife including rare, threatened and endangered species. Wildlife away from the river will no longer have access to the river, and wildlife along the river will have no escape route in the event of flooding or fire.
- Much of the proposed wall will be in the FEMA-defined floodplain which will cause localized flooding , push floodwaters into Mexico, and is a violation of international treaties with Mexico.
- The ongoing effort to connect pieces of habitat along the river (a wildlife corridor), an effort that began over 40 years ago, will be severely impacted, by walling off the best habitat, which is that along the river.
- The internationally-known birding hot-spot of Salineno will cease to exist if there is a wall and associated clearing. This will hurt tourism, the local economy, and local people’s opportunity to experience and enjoy nature.
- The current waiver of all environmental laws should be rescinded. Without laws there is no protection, no real public participation and input, and no accountability
- The large majority of people living along the river in Starr County are low-income and people of color. The proposed border walls violate the most basic principles of Environmental Justice.
- Congress-appropriated border wall funding should be used to reduce and mitigate existing impacts instead of building more destructive border walls.
- The rule of law, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) should be restored and the Secretary of Homeland Security should pledge that no further land be condemned for new border walls.
- We are unalterably opposed to construction of more border walls along the Rio Grande, including Starr County.
- If, despite the many compelling reasons to stop further destructive wall-building, CBP does proceed, Salineno and La Grulla should not be walled off or cleared, and for both human safety and wildlife preservation there should be multiple ungated access points to the river. Land should be purchased for the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge as mitigation, as the only real mitigation for habitat loss is the addition or preservation of more habitat.
Here is the link to the CBP public notice: https://www.cbp.gov/about/environmental-management/border-barrier-environmental-planning-starr-county-texas-august-2023
Here is where you submit you comment: [email protected]
Please feel free to use as many of the above bullet points as you wish. Even better, you can modify, edit or add to them. The important thing is simply to make a comment, let CBP know you care about the river and the people, wildlife and habitat along its banks.
The following is a link to the sign-on letter prepared and adopted by, Friends of the Wildlife Corridor:
In addition to making comments please consider your organization signing on to the letter. Thank you in advance, FWC.