SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — A new report published by Wildlands Network details the need for mitigation and environmental restoration along the U.S.-Mexico border following construction of the border wall during the Trump administration.
Since the end of its construction, Borderlands Program Coordinator Myles Traphagen has surveyed the border from California to New Mexico.
He documented where the wall and its construction have harmed the landscape.
“There are a lot of places that are beyond repair,” said Traphagen. “You can’t just put back together a mountain after you’ve blasted it with dynamite.”
Traphagen stated he and others have come to terms with the fact a lot of the borderlands will not be what they were before border-wall construction began.
“We’re realistic not everything can be restored to its previous condition, however, there are places where we can make some progress. … That was the intent of this report, not to be snipping at the federal government or to be overly-critical about what happened. What’s done is done.”
He said the Department of Homeland Security has pledged $100 million for remediation, restoration and mitigation.
“Whether that’s enough to actually get things done, that’s arguable,” said Traphagen. “It’s probably a little light in the funding, however, we’re making progress.”
According to Forbes Magazine and U.S. World and News Report, wall construction cost taxpayers $15 billion.
Traphagen told Border Report the states of Arizona and New Mexico “took the brunt of the damage.”
“Definitely Arizona tops the list,” he said, “Somehow, we needed to build this border wall right down the line.”
Traphagen said he discovered several instances where wall construction would’ve worked better had they skirted around mountains and other sites rather than “blasting through mountains.”
“It was simply unnecessary,” he said. “They could’ve used the mountains as the barriers much like they did when they constructed the Great Wall of China.”
Traphagen didn’t mention when the federal government will launch border habitat mitigation programs.
At the very least, he says the razor wire atop some portions of the border barrier should be taken down.
“I would like to see this razor wire removed because it’s simply not fair to have our children and members of the border communities growing up in an area that looks like East Berlin to look at every day and see razor wire that was constructed for maximum security prisons and the battlefield.”