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terrays | Feb 03, 2009 03:08 PM

Too little, too late. Shoot first, ask questions later...

If you can shake your head in disgust while you say it, you've probably found the right cliche for the environmental fiasco that surrounds the wall on our southern border.

The Department of Homeland Security recently agreed to fork over $50 million to the Interior Department to mitigate the environmental damage caused by its misguided attempt to curb the stream of people and contraband flowing north from Mexico. It's not the first such allocation (over the last two years, DHS  put roughly $40 million toward fixing environmental problems associated with the fence) but even so, the money doesn't look like much more than a nod in the right direction. After all, DHS has been pouring public money into the project at a rate that's ranged between $200,000 and $15 million per mile for the 601 miles of fence already constructed. The agency's $90 million commitment to the environment pales in comparison to those figures, especially when you remember that  hordes of environmental regulations were waived during the fence's construction.

The $50 million hasn't been allocated yet, but will likely be used to monitor the environmental impacts of the fence, and to restore damaged habitat. But mitigation won't do much for the wetlands already impacted, and it's unlikely that the small holes or culverts that might be installed in the fence to help animals migrate will do much for larger, roughly human-sized creatures such as jaguars and wolves.

It's a shame that wildlands are suffering for a solution to illegal immigration that's more of a political stunt than  a social or economic fix.






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