Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

These Butterflies Have Lawyers

Animals
These Butterflies Have Lawyers
Alan Schmierer

By John R. Platt

Don't mess with Texas butterflies. They have lawyers.


This week attorneys representing the North American Butterfly Association filed a suit against the Trump administration for its plan to build a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall through a significant portion of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. The construction plan would cut off the organization's access "to no less than two-thirds of the Butterfly Center property" just north of the Rio Grande River, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was officially filed Monday against the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agencies responsible for building and patrolling the wall.

The filing, provided to The Revelator by the National Butterfly Center, also alleges that "the Agencies and their agents and contractors have entered, damaged and destroyed NABA's private property without authorization or permission"—details The Revelator uncovered when we originally reported on this story last July. At the time Executive Director Marianna Trevino Wright said crews had chopped down "dozens, perhaps hundreds," of trees, shrubs and other plants. She captured the damage on video.

As we reported in July, Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers admitted entering the private property but repeatedly denied they had removed any vegetation. After nearly a week of inquiries, Customs officials admitted that the tree-removal had actually taken place.

The unexpected presence of border agents reportedly continues practically to this day. In a phone call on Tuesday, Wright said that a customs agent had been on their property in late November turning visitors away from the area near where the border wall would be built.

That part of their property has been unexpectedly popular lately. "All kinds of folks have been coming here, saying they want to see where the wall is going to go," Wright said. "People have said they wanted to see this place before the landscape is marred by this atrocity."

What comes next is unclear. Even though the lawsuit has been filed, Wright said she remains worried about how all of this will play out. She's also concerned that people will stop paying attention. "I don't know at what point this becomes old news," she said. "I think people are getting sort of tired of these crises. I mean, every day it's some new thing with Trump. People are maybe getting desensitized to all of this. But maybe I'm wrong."

Reposted with permission from our media associate The Revelator.

Kevin Russ / Moment / Getty Images

By Kang-Chun Cheng

Modoc County lies in the far northeast corner of California, and most of its 10,000 residents rely on cattle herding, logging, or government jobs for employment. Rodeos and 4-H programs fill most families' calendars; massive belt buckles, blue jeans, and cowboy hats are common attire. Modoc's niche brand of American individualism stems from a free-spirited cowboy culture that imbues the local ranching conflict with wild horses.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Christian Aslund / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Anne-Sophie Brändlin

COVID-19 and climate change have been two of the most pressing issues in 2020.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Artist's impression of an Othalo community, imagined by architect Julien De Smedt. Othalo

By Victoria Masterson

Using one of the world's problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up's mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brett Wilkins

Despite acknowledging that the move would lead to an increase in the 500 million to one billion birds that die each year in the United States due to human activity, the Trump administration on Friday published a proposed industry-friendly relaxation of a century-old treaty that protects more than 1,000 avian species.

Read More Show Less
U.S. returns create about 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. manonallard / Getty Images

Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.

Read More Show Less