Press Room

Border Waiver Of Environmental Laws Harms Habitat, Audubon Center

"The DHS decision to abandon U.S. laws to construct a border fence will jeopardize the ecology, economy, quality of life and beauty of south Texas. They are insisting that we close our eyes and minds to the risks to unique wildlife and ecosystems, as well as the communities that depend on them.

"The administration has effectively put America on notice that it will ignore even the gravest concerns about the border wall. The DHS waiver is breathtaking in its scope. It waives nearly all legal requirements that would apply to anyone else. This decision will cost America dearly, especially when the benefits of the misguided border fence remain uncertain.

"Decades of conservation work will be undone not merely on our great federal refuges, but also on private sanctuaries like Audubon's own private property at Sabal Palm. In an era of massive development and population growth along the border, these pieces of pristine habitat absolutely must be conserved for the benefit of people and wildlife alike."


Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security announced it was bypassing environmental and land-management laws to build hundreds of miles of border fence between the United States and Mexico.

Conservation groups have said the current design amounts to an impenetrable concrete wall that would prevent wildlife from migrating and fragment habitat. Among the 30-some laws being waived are the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

The fence is slated to run directly through the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Sabal Palm was established in 1971 to instill in visitors a shared appreciation and sense of stewardship for the natural world through hands-on nature education, citizen science, and conservation of the area's unique wildlife and habitat. The Center and Sanctuary sit on a 557-acre tract of land along the Rio Grande, affording visitors a unique opportunity to experience the rich biodiversity found in the Valley, and exposing them to one of the rarest and most endangered ecosystems in America. Here visitors will find the last vestiges of palm forest that once dominated much of the lower Rio Grande Delta.

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