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Ducey’s Border Wall Construction is “Political Theater,” says Environment Researcher

Office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to stack shipping containers to close border gaps.

Governor Doug Ducey may be violating the law by not following contracting processes to conduct construction on sections of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Friday, Gov. Ducey announced construction had begun on border gaps within the Yuma Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, a 126 mile stretch between the Yuma-Pima County line in Arizona and the Imperial Sand Dunes in California. He signed an Executive Order outlining his reasons the state needs to act, saying the state cannot wait for federal action.

The Biden Administration had cleared construction to repair the gaps July 29th.

Myles Traphagen is Borderlands Program Coordinator at Wildlands Network, an environment advocacy organization that conducted a study of the impacts of the border wall along stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Their review mapped areas of environmental damage caused by the wall and the building process to, in part, document the result of sidelining pre-construction impact studies normally required for construction on public lands.

The goal, says Traphagen, was to “look at some of the destruction the federal government was not very forthcoming on, as far as disclosing where and what they did.”

Traphagen says Arizona looks to be bypassing those pre-construction activities as well. And he notes closing gaps near Yuma just pushes migrants to other sections of the border that do not have a wall, including a nearby 8-mile stretch on the Cocopah Reservation.

“It’s simply political theater,” says Traphagen. “To think that closing 1,000 feet of gaps along the border is going to somehow solve our national security issues or deter immigration is very naïve.”

But the Governor’s office says construction on a gap that began Friday will be completed by Sunday.

Traphagen says since state governors generally do not have authority to construct on areas of public land, Arizona’s actions will probably land it in court.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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