Friday, December 4, 2009

No Border Wall group backs GNEB's letter to Obama

Rio Grande Guardian
December 4, 2009

WESLACO, Dec. 4 - The No Border Wall coalition has backed recommendations about the border fence issue that were sent to President Obama by the Good Neighbor Environmental Board.

The GNEB advises the President on environmental issues that impact the border. In a letter sent to Obama on Dec. 2, the group offered 12 recommendations, including the repeal of the Real ID Act's waiver provision, compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, a review by the International Boundary Water Commission, and environmental monitoring and mitigation.

“No Border Wall agrees fully with all of these recommendations, and views their implementation as a good start towards rectifying some of the damage that border walls have done,” No Border Wall coalition spokesman Scott Nicol told the Guardian.

Here are the 12 recommendations contained in the letter:

1) Require that all border security infrastructure projects fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as all other laws including environmental, historic, and archeological preservation laws.

2) Work with Congress to amend the REAL ID Act of 2005 to remove the provisions allowing the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive legal requirements.

3) Fully incorporate adequate environmental review, public participation, and scientific analysis into the design and implementation of all border security infrastructure projects.

4) Facilitate review by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) of projects that may cause deflection or obstruction of the normal flow of rivers or their flood flows, ensuring continued compliance with the 1970 Boundary Treaty between the U.S. and Mexico and other international agreements.

5) Systematically monitor the entire fence and supporting infrastructure for effects resulting from its construction and develop actions to modify, redesign, or mitigate the negative outcomes realized or anticipated by the existing construction.

6) Provide sufficient annual funding via the DHS budget for monitoring, research, and mitigation of the environmental impacts of the border fence.

7) Obtain adequate local stakeholder input for all fence construction, mitigation, and maintenance as well as for associated infrastructure projects, including access roads.

8) In sensitive rural areas that are important wildlife corridors, use barriers and technology that prevent vehicular traffic, control pedestrian incursion, and allow wildlife movement.

9) Aggressively explore the use of information and remote sensing technologies that will enhance border security while reducing the physical footprint of interdiction activities along the border.

10) Ensure adequate funding to DHS/Customs and Border Protection for ongoing training for border security personnel about the local natural environment and significant natural and cultural resources.

11) Identify and implement best management practices to prevent and mitigate the erosion resulting from fence construction and associated infrastructure.

12) Charge the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the binational environmental effects of the border fence and associated infrastructure.

The letter is available here:

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