Trump's $5 billion border wall plan could wreak environmental havoc, causing rivers to flood and animals to become 'zombie species'
President Donald Trump will take the national stage tonight to make his case for the construction of a wall at the US-Mexico border.
His live address from the Oval Office comes 18 days into a partial government shutdown, which is the result of a disagreement over funding for Trump's desired border wall. The shutdown has impacted nearly 800,000 federal employees (and caused garbage to pile up in national parks), but Trump has indicated that he won't end the shutdown until he secures $5 billion in funding for the wall.
Trump most likely hopes that his national address and visit to the southwest will boost public support for a wall. But such an enormous construction project would have significant impacts on the environment around the nation's southern border.
What's more, the Department of Homeland Security has already indicated that it will leverage a law that enables the government to expedite border infrastructure by waiving certain legal requirements, which would allow the project to sidestep dozens of environmental rules in California.
Here are five ways that a new border wall would wreak havoc on the environment.
Many species would face local extinction in the US if they couldn't travel back and forth between habitats and resources on either side of the border.
The Stanford analysis showed that 346 species that would lose access to half of their habitat because of a border wall.
Animal migration patterns, even those of birds, would be disrupted.
A wall would also make it harder for many animal species to adapt to climate change.
One of the greatest potential environmental impacts of a border wall would be almost invisible at first: it would lead species to become less resilient to stress.
Conservationists are particularly concerned about the future of the Mexican gray wolf.
A border wall would also change the flow of major rivers.
Depending on where and how a wall were erected — in the middle of a river, say — it could even act like a dam.
One example of such flooding was a 2008 disaster that happened along the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona.
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