Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Border Wall Construction Imminent at Most Diverse Butterfly Center in U.S.

Animals
Border Wall Construction Imminent at Most Diverse Butterfly Center in U.S.
An excavator shows up at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. National Butterfly Center / Facebook

Construction equipment has arrived to build a border wall through the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, a protected habitat for more than 200 species of wild butterflies and other unique wildlife.

A planned 5.5 mile section of concrete and steel border wall that is already funded will cut off 70 percent of the 100-acre property. The barrier will be built on top of a levee of the Rio Grande that runs through the sanctuary.


An excavator and eight law enforcement units arrived around the center on Sunday, the National Butterfly Center wrote in a Facebook post.

"Effective Monday morning, it is all government land," a Mission police department officer said, according to the post.

Bulldozing for the wall, which is expected to be about three stories tall, will commence any day now, the center wrote in another post on Tuesday.

National Butterfly Center faces uncertainty as heavy equipment arrives www.youtube.com

On Monday, as the construction equipment was off-loaded, roughly 35 local tribal members marched to the center in protest of the project, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Juan Mancias, the tribal chair of Carrizo Comecrudo, told the publication he did not expect construction to begin "this soon."

"You come over here, you see the butterflies here, the animals here, and you also see gravesites that have been here since 1865," Mancias said.

In federal documents seen by the publication, the barrier's construction includes a 150-foot-wide "enforcement zone" that could negatively impact gravesites of Mancias' ancestors buried at a nearby cemetery.

The butterfly center's fate was sealed in December when the Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Defenders of Wildlife to appeal a federal court decision that the Trump administration can waive 28 environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, in order to build 33 more miles of wall, including the section that runs through the refuge.

The project was funded in the 2018 Omnibus spending bill in March.

In a recent Facebook Live with EcoWatch, Marianna Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center said morale on the ground was "pretty bad."

"The potential impacts are devastating," Wright continued. "Especially for animals like the ocelot where we have fewer than 80 known in existence."

If you'd like to help, the center has started a Go Fund Me to protect the site.

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less