Monarch Butterflies are Disappearing - That and Trump's Immoral Wall
12 February 2019 at 12:27:48 PM
We're lucky living in this county where, in the fall, there is a procession of Monarch butterflies making their way south for the winter. My yard happens to have the right type of milkweed and other plants for the butterflies to eat on their way. There was one year where my entire driveway was full of butterflies, a majestic sight. I saw them again this last fall but the numbers were not what they once were.
In south Texas, there is a National Butterfly Center that is a refuge for over 100 species of butterfly as well as some other endangered species. The Center is private property and yet the Trump administration has been working to seize that private property to build a wall right in the middle, severing the center in half and preventing complete access for visitors. The Center filed a lawsuit late last year.
Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, president of the North American Butterfly Association, which owns and runs the center, said that in recent weeks agents from U.S. Border Patrol had told visitors that they weren’t authorized to enter the sanctuary, because it was off-limits. “The center is private property,” he said. “It doesn’t belong to the federal government. We believe the federal government has been behaving illegally and in a really egregious fashion in many different ways, so we’re seeking an injunction to try and have the courts make them behave in a way that is consistent with the law and the constitution.”
In the lawsuit, the center is accusing the federal government of unlawful incursion, deprivation of due process and violating the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which mandates that the federal government conduct an environmental assessment prior to making decisions on construction and other major projects. In the lawsuit, the center also seeks restitution for its legal fees....
If the wall is built through the center, according to the lawsuit, it will “cut off two-thirds of the NBC, effectively destroying the Center and leaving behind a 70-acre no-man’s land between the proposed border wall and the Rio Grande.”
“We understand that not everyone in the country may be as interested in butterflies or in the environment as we are,” said Glassberg. “But everyone should care when the government thinks it can do whatever it wants on your private property.”
Late Monday evening, attorneys for the National Butterfly Center asked a federal judge to block the Trump administration from building a border wall at the refuge or using the center’s property as a pass-through to build elsewhere. The motion alleges that federal agents and contractors have been driving without permission through the Rio Grande Valley refuge’s property to access nearby federal land for the last week, and that they even replaced one of the butterfly center’s gate locks. The Trump administration plans to break ground on a 6-mile stretch of border wall as soon as this week, starting with a federal wildlife refuge tract just upriver from the privately-owned butterfly center.
The motion accuses the Trump administration of “defy[ing] centuries of democratic values that shield Americans from government action depriving individuals of their rightful property without notice and an opportunity to be heard.” It calls for the Washington, D.C., judge to temporarily forbid the government or its contractors from taking any action at the refuge “in furtherance of the construction of a border wall” or from interfering with the center’s “use and enjoyment of its property” — apart from Border Patrol agents stopping the “illegal entry of aliens.”...
Ultimately, the center hopes that the judge will force the government to slow down and perform rigorous environmental surveys, consult with other federal agencies and give the public a chance to weigh in — rather than plow ahead with construction as soon as this month. The Justice Department and other federal agencies still haven’t seized land from the center using eminent domain. If construction is ever allowed to proceed, the refuge’s leaders contend their project will be devastated. An earthen river levee that runs through the 100-acre property would become a 30-foot concrete-and-steel border wall, bisecting the reserve and leaving more than two-thirds of the land stranded on the wrong side of the barrier. The wall will be littered with cameras and draped with at least 22-foot tall LED lights, a potential catastrophe for sensitive insects. Tourism to the center could crater, forcing the center to close and wasting 17 years of effort cultivating the refuge.
I agree with this. Who remembers the TTC (Trans Texas Corridor)? where Rick Perry wanted to go take private land to build a huge toll road right through the middle of Texas? I recall going to a Bosque County meeting where citizens turned out in droves against the state taking private land. That happened all over Texas. Are people now in favor or taking private land without even due process?