February 19, 2016

Why aren't we talking about the environmental impact of the wall Trump says he will build?

I raised the subject in the comments to the earlier post about the wall. I said: "Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?" John Henry said:
Why aesthetically troubling? You have no idea yet what it will look like, do you? I suspect that in some placed it may be a wall, in others a fence, in others natural barriers. No wall is needed when the border is at the base of a 100' cliff, for example.

Ecologically troubling? You are the first person I have ever heard ask that. Could you elaborate?

I think you are the first person I've seen have trouble with the what the wall looks like, too.
I said that I was concerned about "a wall slicing through such a long huge length of" of America, "imping[ing] on nature so brutally" and that I worried about "the plants and animals that flow back and forth within those areas." I didn't remember hearing anyone else bring this up, but I had no trouble finding this Newsweek article from a few days ago: "THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER WALL." There's a photograph with the caption: "Javelina (Pecari tajacu) turn away after looking for 100 yards for a place to cross the U.S.-Mexico border fence near the San Pedro river corridor in Arizona in July 2008."
[T]he Rio Grande Valley [is] one of the most biodiverse places in North America, with more than 700 species of vertebrates alone. It sits at the convergence of two major flyways for migratory birds... some 500 different bird species.

Before construction of the fence began in 2009, a list of species likely to be affected was prepared by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It included 10 plants and animals on federal and state endangered lists, 23 on Texas’s threatened list and dozens of species of concern. But the wall went up anyway.

Species with small populations and specialized habitats have suffered the most from the disruption, says Jesse Lasky, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State. He co-authored a 2011 study reporting that the barrier reduced the range for some species by as much as 75 percent. Small range size is associated with a higher risk of extinction, and, according to the study, the wall puts additional stress on Arroyo toads, California red-legged frogs, black-spotted newts and Pacific pond turtles—all listed as endangered or threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature—and the jaguarondi, a small wildcat endangered in the U.S. and threatened in Mexico.

Other research concluded that the barrier disrupts movements and distribution of the ferruginous pygmy-owl and bighorn sheep and could isolate small populations of large mammals in Arizona’s Sky Island region, including black bears and pumas. Such isolation reduces exchange of genetic material and makes the animals more vulnerable to disease.

Barrier posts cross the Nature Conservancy’s Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve near Brownsville, and staffers there have seen increasing numbers of white-tailed deer and javelina on the property. That isn’t a good thing; it likely means, says Laura Huffman, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Texas branch, that wildlife squeezed out of its natural habitat is forced onto the preserve—and not that the overall number of these animals has increased.

“The fence is the very definition of habitat fragmentation, the very definition of what inhibits free movement of wildlife within its natural habitat,” Huffman says.
Much more at the link.

104 comments:

GASDOC said...

What about the environmental impact of millions of people crossing the boarder? Where is the concern over the tons of garbage left by the illegal immigrants & coyotes transporting the immigrants? Sounds like "environmental impact" is just another weapon used to argue against having a secure boarder.

CStanley said...

I've definitely heard these arguments before, so I was surprised in that other thread when a commenter said you were the only one raising the argument and you basically agreed by asking why others weren't raising this concern,

My take on it is that nature adjusts. A massive, lengthy barrier (assuming it is nonporous to wildlife) would obviously have an impact. But some species would suffer while others would prosper. I think this argument is frivolous, like saying we shouldn't build cities because of he impact on wildlife.

James Pawlak said...

Any such "Impact Study" should note the probable reduction in the contamination of our land by the present deluge of illegal drugs, bodies left laying about by Latino gang members and like "imports" now freely entering the USA.

gspencer said...

re: Being concerned about a protective wall being "aesthetically and ecologically troubling?"

No, I'm more troubled about being eaten alive through welfare payments (and there are 00s of gimme programs for layabouts which fall within this category) and the ugly atmosphere created by those who do not work, and who demand that I and other taxpayers accommodate them, and who as the very first act in this country is to have committed a crime.

n.n said...

The environmental disruption caused by low-density energy production in solar ovens and windmill gauntlets negates any concerns for the environment. In America, Mexico, or China.

David Begley said...

All those buildings in Madison have really wrecked the environment on the isthmus.

traditionalguy said...

The deaths and the family separation caused to innocent horned frogs alone by a Wall is too horrible to contemplate for cactus huggers.

MarkW said...

We were recently down in Big Bend National Park. The Rio Grande there cuts through spectacular canyons. A wall would be a horrible scar on a beautiful area and ruin a National Park. Is right down the middle of this landscape where you want to run a razor-wire topped fence?

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/02/92/12/75/sierra-del-carmen-sunset.jpg

JMS said...

This argument puts the bad effects on coyotes and cactus above the bad effects on people who by pure happenstance were born on the south side of an arbitrary line in the desert.

But it makes sense. This argument is more likely to get traction because people go nuts to save starving puppies, baby seals, cute marine mammals, and "the environment" but they don't do much for starving children.

Anglelyne said...

I'm quite certain you're not the first person to worry about the environmental impact of a wall. I'm all for finding solutions to any aesthetic or environmental problems encountered in securing the border. (Let's not hire Frank Gehry as a consultant, okay?)

Unfortunately, a lot of the clamoring about environmental impact is really just shilling for our open-borders-mad masters, so let's take care to tune them out while we get down to work.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

What about the environmental impact of weapons proving grounds!

Oh right. National security trumps (ha!) Environmental concerns. I'm sure a good lawyer could explain it to Althouse.

n.n said...

Construct a wall of windmills and solar panels and share the energy with Mexico. That will address at least one cause of the mass exodus. Also, both windmill gauntlets and solar ovens are approved by "green" industry lobbyists.

Right a biblical wrong and construct an aesthetically pleasing "wall". Win. Win.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Is right down the middle of this landscape where you want to run a razor-wire topped fence?

No. That would be horrible. I'll make a compromise with you. We'll not build the wall but we'll deport all the illegal aliens. We'll arrest and imprison corporate executives who hire illegal aliens. We'll make proof of citizenship or legal immigration to get jobs, housing, medical and education benefits.

Deal?

rehajm said...

I recently posted Trump will need to install a cat door

Levi Starks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick said...

Why aren't we talking about the environmental impact of the wall Trump says he will build?

For the same reason we aren't talking about whether we'll elect Noam Chomsky President.

n.n said...

Well, one biblical wrong. Excessive immigration still compensates and obfuscates the consequences of the "final solution" advocated by national socialists, progressives, liberals, and Planners. As well as the progressive corruption and dysfunction promoted by anti-native policies, including creation and propagation of refugee crises.

Anglelyne said...

MarkW: We were recently down in Big Bend National Park. The Rio Grande there cuts through spectacular canyons. A wall would be a horrible scar on a beautiful area and ruin a National Park. Is right down the middle of this landscape where you want to run a razor-wire topped fence?

It is beautiful there. So we need other solutions to securing the border there, no? Suggestions welcome.

We also have areas of our beautiful national parks and monuments (e.g., Guadalupe, Sequoia), that have been damaged (gang, cartel violence, or outright takeover of land, in the case of Sequoia) by the flow of people and crime over the uncontrolled border. I consider this "a horrible scar on beautiful areas" too, don't you?

Levi Starks said...

Aesthetically pleasing ?
Just try and think of it as very large scale abstract modern art installation.
That may or may not be trying to send a message.

Big Mike said...

Back in the day I proposed a virtual wall consisting of sensors, including visual sensors mounted on a blimp or dirigible and left to loiter at 70,000 ft or higher (well above where commercial airliners fly). The CBP could be automatically alerted using artificial intelligence to assess whether the intruders are migrants, drug smugglers, or a couple head of cattle that got loose and crossed the Rio Grande (obviously the Border Patrol Agents should be shown the evidence and allowed to concur). Then use terrain information, location of highways and water, etc., to figure out likely paths and destinations and therefore have the CBP positioned to make the arrests in maximum safety. This is based on the notion that you don't care whether people actually cross the border, as long as the number who evade arrest within so many hours is within epsilon of zero.

Idea must have made too much sense.

Richard Dolan said...

"Why aesthetically troubling?"

Easy solution. Have it designed by Christo, so that it resembles the Gates in Central Park. Lovely saffron colored concrete wall, with charming banners on top blowing in the wind. No doubt, Trump would like that NYC-centric reference. The Buddhist imagery wouldn't hurt, either -- millenials will probably prefer it to any other religious subtext.

Curious George said...

"It sits at the convergence of two major flyways for migratory birds... some 500 different bird species."

They must be penguins...

EDH said...

The animals can pass under the two openings in the "M" of the golden TRUMP logo worked into the ironwork every 100 feet.

Cog said...

The process will be to address potential impacts when there is a proposal describing the wall as a federal program and/or an actual designed project. At that time potential impacts will be independently identified in an environmental impact statement and a proposed mitigation program be publicly issued for consideration by the EPA or lead agency. The program as amended or a statement of overriding considerations will be approved or denied. Aesthetics will be included as a category of environmental concern.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Most people aren't talking about the environmental impact of the wall because we know it will never happen. It doesn't matter who wins the election. Even if Trump gets elected (almost zero chance) and if he tries to follow through on the promise (almost zero chance), I would expect lawsuits and lefty judges to bottle this up for at least the next 50 years.

Mike Sylwester said...

What will be the environmental impact of another hundred million people living in the USA?

JSD said...

Mountains and deserts make good borders. Rivers make terrible borders, especially rivers that bisect a subtropical desert. There are probably 5 or 6 million people that have settled on both banks of the Lower Rio Grande River. These interconnected communities go back to the 1800’s. A wall has been built over much of this section, but it is completely ineffective. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is a not a valley, but a flood plain. The river switches back and forth and travels five miles for each linear mile. This necessitated lots of openings for people to access their agriculture lands which they have been farming for 100 years. Also the river is very unpredictable. It appears tamed, but the one hundred year flood high, is a potential nightmare. The Mexicans call it Rio Bravo (ferocious river) for a reason. A Trump-like wall would only be possible if we ceded these South Texas communities and built a wall 50 miles north through the Wild Horse Desert. This was actually considered in 1840 with the formation of the Republic of the Rio Grande, which lasted only 11 months. Actually it might not be such a bad idea today for a place that is neither Mexico or American. Lots of prime agriculture land, lots of oil and gas and good port facilities.

iqvoice said...

Althouse, willful stupidity doesn't become you. What about the environmental impact of millions of refugees illegally trampling through our delicate desert biomes? We all know they dump countless piles of trash as they illegally desecrate our land. We've seen the pictures.

https://www.truthorfiction.com/arizona-desert-trash/

Tank said...

As I said in a previous thread, put 10,000 troops there and shoot invaders.

No environmental impact.

AllenS said...

I, like most people around here, have a barbed wire fence around my property. 4 strands. Nobody has ever said that it looks icky.

lgv said...

The wall will get tagged regardless. It will become protected art at that point. So there's your esthetics. Some of the concerns are real, others are a stretch.

"Such isolation reduces exchange of genetic material and makes the animals more vulnerable to disease." This is generations from now and can be easily fixed by exchanging members of the population.

Any building will have an environmental impact. It must be weighed against the need of the project. I see nothing in the list of environmental impact that should stop the building of a fence. It should be stopped because it is an expensive, ineffective measure.

Alexander said...

Realizing that the 'racist' card no longer holds weight with the American people, the ivory league makes a desperate gamble on 'environmental impact!'

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Why aren't we talking about the environmental impact of tens of thousands of illegal migrants cutting their way across undeveloped wilderness areas, leaving trash, waste, and environmental damage as they go?

Why aren't we talking about the crimes-including many sexual assaults and rapes (including against minors), theft, assault, murder and so on that thousands of illegal immigrants are subjected to by human trafficers each year? The smuggling is driven by a demand, and the demand depends on the potential illegal immigrants' belief that they'll be accepted once they get across the border. The Left does everything they can to send that message (just get here and we'll let you stay, get you benefits, let you be part of a powerful political movement, etc, no matter what the laws say) and thereby encourage the illegal immigration that results in these harms to the immigrants themselves.

Why aren't we talking about the fact that raising people out of poverty/taking people from a Mexican standard of living to an American standard of living will mean a much greater per capita environmental impact for those people? If your overall concern is environmental damage you should want to keep people as poor as possible (and, of course, simultaneously work to reduce their birth rate).

William said...

I understand that the rigidly enforced border between North and South Korea has, over the years, become something of a nature preserve. I hope these two countries keep up their enmity so this pristine bit of wilderness can remain intact..........Margaret Thatcher was considered heartless and evil when she closed coal mines because they were not economically sound.. President Obama, however, is a visionary when he closes coal mines because they are not environmentally sound........There's something self serving and hypocritical about people who want to make the wall an environmental issue.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I'm still on board with Xander Crews' plan for a pedestrian overpass to Canada. He does need to work on that name, though.

Big Mike said...

@iqvoice, you raise an excellent point (echoed by HoodlumDoodlum). But keep in mind that Althouse is a law professor and I imagine that she uses questions like that to force her students to think in new directions, not to display ignorance.

(Though it has not escaped me that sometimes she might actually be willfully ignorant on one or more topics and not merely attempting to get a reaction.)

Perhaps we could pass a law allowed CBP to use arrested illegal migrants to pick up trash, sort of like community service, before sending them back? I suppose there are all sorts of legal barriers.

MaxedOutMama said...

If you will please excuse/look past the seeming harshness of this to think about the issue:

Anyone concerned about the environmental impact of a wall but not about the environmental impact of millions of people flowing across borders in a diffused way, leaving excrement, trash and dead bodies everywhere should think again. Very hard.

I have respect for your intellect, but in this case you have not exercised it in any meaningful way.

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/learn/issues/environment/illegal-immigrations-negative-impact-environment.html

http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/EvergreenEnergy/oakesr.html

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/12441-epa-border-program-ignores-environmental-safety-damage-from-illegals

There seems no way that a wall, if it did stop drug and migrant traffic, would not on balance be a very great environmental bonus.

Legalizing marijuana, on the other hand, gives a great environmental bonus because it should stop most the growing in protected, remote areas.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

the ivory league makes a desperate gamble on 'environmental impact!'

Althouse wishes. She's not as clever as she thinks she is.

elkh1 said...

Why aesthetically troubling?

As troubling as wind turbines at the top of the hills destroying the hills and slaughtering birds in flight?

As ecologically troubling as solar panels in the middle of deserts and prairies, killing rare flora and fauna, and ranchers' livelihood for Chinese cash?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

What about the environmental impact of lifting millions of people out of crushing poverty in China?

Cog said...

In the environmental impact statement, a “No Project” alternative to the proposed wall will be evaluated. In that scenario the long term and short term potential impacts of unlawful immigration from not having the wall built will be compared to the potential impacts if the wall were built.

Alexander said...

Bill, Republic of Texas.

Look at the word I used, and not the word it sounds like if you read over it quickly.

I believe I have coined a brilliant new term.

MaxedOutMama said...

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/trashing-arizona/Content?oid=1168857

Note - it is not theory that fencing can stop the environmental degradation - please see this article from 2009, Tucson Weekly:
Officials in the Buenos Aires, for example, used to find 100 smuggler vehicles a year on its land. But manager Mike Hawkes says new fencing has cut that number dramatically. "Last year, we had one," he says. Those vehicles, when abandoned, become a form of litter.

But the problem hasn't been eliminated, and much damage has already been done—in the introduction of nonnative seeds, especially buffelgrass. (See "State of the Desert," March 5.) It is widespread in Sonora and enters our country on the wind, on water and on the clothing of the millions of illegals who've already passed through our deserts. It also enters on the tires of smuggler vehicles. The seeds drop in the desert, germinate and grow rapidly. Buffelgrass forces native plants to compete for moisture and space, and it has introduced fire as a major player in the Sonoran Desert.

In the past, fires rarely produced big blazes in the desert. But today, if illegals don't extinguish their cook fire, or they set a fire to distract law enforcement and then abandon it—two common events—the result can be a runaway fire fueled by buffelgrass. These fires kill plants and trees that set up the desert's entire regeneration process, and the potential impact is huge.

Original Mike said...

"A Trump-like wall would only be possible if we ceded these South Texas communities and built a wall 50 miles north through the Wild Horse Desert."

Build it 50 miles south of the river. Trump will compensate them.

John Scott said...

Speaking of the environment and "aesthetically troubling," have seen a picture of or have driven through the Mojave Desert lately? Wind farms and solar panel fields are now covering the desert floor and mountain sides. A wall can't be any worse.

TreeJoe said...

I want to take a moment to engage philosophically on environmental impact. When such studies began, they were fairly looking for ways to alter a planned project to reduce environmental impact. They were brief studies conducted by serious individuals with an output focused on recommendations that were realistic and had clear benefit while recognizing the rationale for the original plan.

Philosophically, environmentalism has moved to be a "Don't change the status quo" vision. The policy arguments over climate change are about how to maintain the status quo - they aren't environmental studies saying "you know what, 1.2 degrees warmer would increase arable land by 1,000,000 square miles while not causing dramatic ice melts...so that's our target ideal temp." They are simply saying that somehow we must stop change.

Similarly, environmental studies of things like oceanic wind farms, nuclear power, and many other really important initiatives are about stopping any sort of progress that moves mankind forward at ANY expense to nature. In today's thinking, the Panama Canal was a massive disruption to ecology - it shouldn't have been built.

The idea of a wall with Mexico is the same thing. The Great Wall of China is considered one of man's wonders. We talk about the EXACT SAME THING here - a defensive barrier - and it's considered a political and environmental boondoggle. (P.s. the great wall of china is a mixture of walls, trenches, and natural barriers - which is what makes sense for us too).

I would love to see Trump or anyone else propose a series of walls, natural barriers, and frequent highly controlled portals through our southern border. I would love it even more if they turned it into a combination of structured, welcoming immigration strategy + tightly controlled border + environmentally sound and architecturally interesting wall that would be a source of pride for Americans. Maybe it can employ a few hundred thousand individuals for a number of years as well - a truly "shovel ready" project.

But that's not part of the environmental vision anymore.

Alexander said...

Build it south of the river, give the Mexicans north of the wall American citizenship and send the rest of the Mexicans back south.

Or send them ALL south and just declare eminent domain. Afterall, if the world court believes they honestly have the right to try anyone, that their jurisdiction is universal, then let's pull that trick for ourselves.

Everyone wins!

Or, build the wall north of the river, and understand the principle that literally goes back to the beginning of walled human settlements that the area inside the wall might also own and control territory outside the wall.

aritai said...

re: "Can't" build a wall or better. Care to make a wager? Certainly anything Mr. O. can ignore Mr. pTb can do. Imagine the incalculable harm locking up unused land does to the native flora and fauna that have become dependent on human and non-native ranching and farming detritus. Poop and poop and more. Remove humans they and associated pests die. Similar the harm that slowing the introduction of GM organisms does to the planet given we could have reduced the human burden using them. Granted we could just hold a lottery among the left and march them off a clift. Maybe all this is already covered in the impact statement. "Returning to conditions of pre first settlers" is bound to have a big impact, especially at the BIA, a more useless and soul sucking institution has never been seen. You can spend more and not get less. Or is this just another religious blood sacrifice of our children, born shortly or would have been born, at the altar of Gaia, our daily purification ritual. Now surely she (or is Gaia a he?)will divert that planet busting asteroid with our name on it. I forgot, the precautionary principle says we must assume the worst and act accordingly, as in kiss our @ss goodbye. It's "science" and it trump"s" everything? doesn't it? We are such suckers when we're not being such idiots.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Jeez, Ann. Twice so far this year? I even have my own tag?

I am honored.

Still gonna disagree with you as necessary. I can be bought, or at least rented, but it is gonna take some hard cash money.

John Henry

AllenS said...

I've been to Southern Arizona and Northern Arizona. In some of the smaller towns, you'll see on people's picket fences, a bleached human hip bone. There are thousands, and thousand of human skeleton's littering the landscape of that state from this human migration. A nice fence might have saved a lot of lives.

M Jordan said...

American customs is obnoxious, unnecessarily so, IMHO. A wall to me is also obnoxious. Why must we have such an unfriendly face greeting the world? I prefer the Statue of Liberty.

By the way, I'm a conservative Republican who could vote for Trump. But not because of the idiotic wall he proposes. The reason I could support him is he representatives something of the lost alpha male. I'm very anti-pajama boy and that's what our worlds become. Watch the Triumph the Comic Insult Dog interview of the NH college students. Not a manly man amongst them. Scared, overly polite, downright effeminate if I may say do (and I'm sure, I may not).

So Trump represents something positive to me ... But not because of the ugly, obnoxious wall he proposes.

BDNYC said...

Forget the environment, as that's more of a lefty concern. When did it become "conservative" to support boondoggle government projects?

Trump wants to build a wall along the border that would cost billions and probably not be all that effective. And no, Mexico will not pay for it. Trump also wants to immediately deport 12 million people, which will clog our immigration courts and detention facilities, not to mention cost a pretty penny. This man is no conservative.

There are easier and better ways to protect our border and have an orderly immigration process that serves our interests, all without offending our neighbors or making us look scared and stupid. That is what a positive conservative vision should be able to deliver.

After watching his campaign for the last several months, I believe Trump represents more than anything else a highly nationalistic grievance culture. It is ironic because we usually think of grievances as being a left-wing phenomenon. Trump appeals to resentful, fearful, disaffected blue collar types who want the government to give them a helping hand. This is not conservatism.

Sebastian said...

First the Pope, now this. The wall-is-bad-for-the-envronment nonsense (yeah, yeah, AA didn't actually exactly say it, but still) just baits conservatives to go for Trump. But, fellow conservatives, let's not be baited and let's don't make this an FU election.

Balfegor said...

Let's model our wall on the Theodosian Walls around Constantinople. I find the alternating stripes of redbrick and tan quite attractive. Of course, we won't have the funds to replicate the Walls along the entire length of the border with Mexico -- we will probably have to make do with a single wall rather than a classic double fortification for cost reasons -- but perhaps for a mile on either side as one approaches a gate, we can expand the fortifications.

The gates, of course, will have to be quite large -- I would still take, e.g. the Golden Gate of Constantinople as a model, but I imagine that to accommodate the substantial legal traffic between the US and Mexico, it would have to be increased considerably in scale, perhaps to the point that they would not be feasible. The gates would probably be the last things to be built, to avoid interfering too much with ordinary legal traffic between the US and Mexico and points further south. I suppose there is some illegal traffic that mixes in with that legal traffic, but we already have border guards there checking, and nothing is ever going to be a 100% solution.

Unknown said...

I am curious if Ann has seen the wall up close? In the rio grande valley the houses jut right up to it, just like any other fence. You barely know it is there unless you happen upon it as it winds its way along the border.

As far as esthetics, it is about 1000 times better than the monstrosities we call wind farms and certainly a lot less impactful on bird population and migration. . In fact the first sentence of the quoted article makes me question the authors honesty. What huge impact could a wall have on migratory birds?

I do not think that islands are greatly impacted by their walls of water. As one commentator mentioned, some species will thrive, others not so much, but the idea that a wall will be their undoing is questionable to me.

Mike said...

To MarkW @ 8:38 AM:

Yes. It's not just a park. It's a border.

Mike said...

Levi Starks said...
Aesthetically pleasing ?
Just try and think of it as very large scale abstract modern art installation.
That may or may not be trying to send a message


Yes we can drape colorful plastic along the wall and call it a Christo-like (but not apparently Christ-like) "installation."

GASDOC said...

What about the environmental impact of millions of people crossing the border? Where is the concern over the tons of garbage left by the illegal immigrants & coyotes transporting the immigrants? Sounds like "environmental impact" is just another weapon used to argue against having a secure border.

M Jordan said...

@Mike. "Yes. It's not just a park. It's a border."

I got that. We should protect our borders but do it in other ways. A wall is ugly, paranoid, and anti-American. Should we wall our cities as well?

Balfegor said...

Re: M Jordan:

I got that. We should protect our borders but do it in other ways. A wall is ugly, paranoid, and anti-American. Should we wall our cities as well?

CAN WE?? Oh please, let's! I've always envied China and Europe their beautiful old city walls. Let's make them like Xi'an!

n.n said...

Ironically, the religious concern for environmental aesthetics and green fields is one cause of the mass exodus.

Sigivald said...

"Who cares" is the obvious answer.

If we care about javelina crossing the border, we can put holes in it too small for people - or guarded by men with guns to stop them.

Plants tend to "cross borders" as seeds in the air or with birds, so they will be basically unaffected.

(I think a wall is a stupid idea, but "because the animals!!!" is not why.

We should accept that "really securing the border" means "armed men guarding it and willing to use force to stop crossings"; a static wall will not stop people without guards protecting it.)

JSD said...

When they built the wall in the Rio Grande Valley, large amounts of land and infrastructure ended up south of the wall. This included 18 water districts providing water for two million people on the US side. Hundreds employees and contractors need 24/7 access through the wall. In addition, thousands of acres of ag land also ended up south of the wall. This required hundreds of gate openings. None of these gates are manned by law enforcement types. Vast residential sections got no wall because it wasn't feasible. The wall is complete theater and its most outspoken proponents are the least informed. The International Border Commission that oversees this mess has been starved for funding by the Republican congress. That should tell you everything you need to know about who is serious about border security.

Anglelyne said...

BDNYC:

This man is no conservative.

We heard you the first time. This repeated invocation of "real conservatism" (i.e. a mishmash of neoliberal economism and neo-connery, whose rare points of overlap with traditional American conservatism are generally honored only in the breach by preferred "conservative" candidates) obviously hasn't persuaded anyone. And from your own point of view, it can't, since Trump supporters are entirely motivated by irrational (or rather a-rational) considerations. Why keep banging on?

There are easier and better ways to protect our border and have an orderly immigration process that serves our interests, all without offending our neighbors or making us look scared and stupid. That is what a positive conservative vision should be able to deliver.

Indeed there are. Guess all your fine "conservative" candidates have been too busy with more important things for the last forty years or so to get around to promoting any of them seriously. Seem to have found plenty of time to subvert any such efforts, like eVerify and employer sanctions, though. All for sound "conservative" reasons, I'm sure.

Btw, I know many intelligent anti-Trumpers who've managed to figure out, and even respect, the "opening gambit" and "move the window" rationale behind Trump's allegedly "extreme" statements. You don't strike me as a stupid man, BDNYC. Why so slow on the uptake?

After watching his campaign for the last several months, I believe Trump represents more than anything else a highly nationalistic grievance culture. It is ironic because we usually think of grievances as being a left-wing phenomenon. Trump appeals to resentful, fearful, disaffected blue collar types who want the government to give them a helping hand. This is not conservatism.

You guys have no insight at all into how much you're starting to sound like SJWs and NPR cat-ladies virtue-signaling each other on social-media, do you? ("It is ironic because we usually think of zombie-brained, status-jockeying anathematizing of blue-collar losers as being a left-wing phenomenom"!)

And by "you guys", I don't mean "all the people who think Trump sucks". I mean you conservative cat-ladies.

There are times when I regret that I'm the sort of person who wouldn't be caught dead wearing a t-shirt in public, let alone a be-logo'ed t-shirt. Don't do bumper-stickers, either. If I did, I'd have them run up proclaiming "Resentful, Fearful, Disaffected Blue Collar Type Who Wants the Government to Give Me a Helping Hand". And I'd give you credit for that delightful hysterical logo, BDNYC, and pay you royalties, too.

Dude1394 said...

Hear Hear

"You guys have no insight at all into how much you're starting to sound like SJWs and NPR cat-ladies virtue-signaling each other on social-media, do you? ("It is ironic because we usually think of zombie-brained, status-jockeying anathematizing of blue-collar losers as being a left-wing phenomenom"!)

And by "you guys", I don't mean "all the people who think Trump sucks". I mean you conservative cat-ladies."

hombre said...

Neither Trump nor anyone else is likely to build "the wall."

Regardless, Arizona wildlife, for example, is remarkably adaptable. Javelinas, coyotes, deer, bobcats, etc., abound in residential areas. They are obnoxious, but they have adapted.

The environmental impact of illegals and drug and human traffickers on pristine desert areas and quality of life in the U.S., on the other hand, has been ongoingly negative.

Anglelyne said...

hombre: Javelinas, coyotes, deer, bobcats, etc., abound in residential areas. They are obnoxious, but they have adapted.

Do people eat javelinas? I know they're related somewhere along the line to Old World pigs, so might be full of piggy goodness, too. On the other hand, by the looks of 'em it could be more like eating a big rat.

Balfegor said...

Re: Sigivald:

We should accept that "really securing the border" means "armed men guarding it and willing to use force to stop crossings"; a static wall will not stop people without guards protecting it.)

I don't think there's anyone who doesn't understand that active patrolling is best. But a static physical barrier is an impediment to unauthorised border crossing, and will tend to corral people towards the gates. I think the reason a physical barrier has increased in appeal is that border agents can only patrol as long as they have a budget to patrol -- any active border security can be wiped out with a subclause in the next appropriations bill. A physical barrier will stick around for years unless you actively set out to destroy it.

And the public as a whole (both pro and anti-illegal immigration) knows that although politicians (e.g. Rubio) may talk a lot about border security this and that, they don't really want to control the border -- maintaining public order is so hard, so complicated, and it's so much easier to just have people swarm in and sort it all out afterwards with residence permits for whoever managed to shove his way to the front. As soon as they think no one is looking, they'll slash border funding and dedicate the money to something they're enthusiastic about, like fancier scanners for the TSA to use on us at airports. Or giving illegal immigrants permanent residency in preference to all those dumb law-abiding chumps who applied for immigrant visas.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Let's think deeply about why people want "a wall." The answer: lack of trust. People don't trust the government. They don't trust the government when it says they'll patrol the border and keep out illegal immigrants. They're right not to trust the government, since the government has not been trustworthy on this issue (and, of course many others).

I don't really want a physical wall. The costs involved would be very high, the logistics would be difficult, and the thing may not be all that effective in the end. What the wall does do, though, is make it difficult for the government/politicians to go back on a promise to take an action to protect the border. "Virtual fencing" works only as long as people are monitoring it, responding to breaches, etc. The idea is that once you put a wall up everyone can see it; the wall should have a deterrence effect itself and it would be easy to verify if it actually existed or not. A physical wall is difficult to fake.

People are tired of their government lying to them. They're tired of feeling like politicians, even/especially the ones in their own parties, are lying and cheating and going back on their promises. A physical wall is a suboptimal solution, surely, and only makes sense in the absence of many other better solutions. All those better solutions, though, require trust--trust between voters and their elected officials, and trust between citizens and their government/government agencies. That trust doesn't exist. The push for a wall is the result.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A wall is a commitment. It's hard to go back on having built a physical wall. I can verify that a physical wall exists. I can get a sense of whether a wall is working or not. A politician or bureaucrat can't knock down part of a wall, or cut the budget and have part of an existing wall just disappear--they can basically do that now by changing enforcement priorities, etc, but it's less easy to do w/r/t the presence of a physical barrier.

Having a physical wall reduces the amount of trust you have to place in the government to do what it says it's going to do. Some trust is still needed, but significantly less. Proposed solutions (other than a wall) that rely on a high level of trust are doomed.

TreeJoe said...

There are two parts of preventing people from crossing a border:

1. Physical prevention
2. Consequences of crossing the border

(and really a third which is simply "You don't want to cross this border because there's no reason too - but that's a bit more North Korea than we want to become)

Physically, it CAN be difficult in some places to cross the border. Societal integration is part of physical prevention, and unfortunately society has encouraged illegal border crossing by making it easy to come here and get the benefits of society.

...

But really, the consequences of border crossing are minimal. We'll either let you stay, not catch you, send you home, or possibly detain you for awhile and then release you.

Not exactly deterring.

Matt said...

As if Republicans care about the environment. [Okay a couple might but they aren't supporters of Trump].

David said...

"Should we wall our cities as well?"

We already do, just not with a physical structure.

David said...

Matt said...
As if Republicans care about the environment.


Where did you learn to be so persuasive, Matt?

Rockport Conservative said...

There have been plenty of complaints from Rio Grande Valley residents who did not want their land divided by a fence and cut off from the river. As a resident of South Texas I 've seen a lot of this but apparently it hasn't ever gone national.

Alex said...

Was it "American" to have the Civil War or the Japanese internment camps? The fact is that sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

MayBee said...

Build the walls out of solar panels.

Freder Frederson said...

Oh right. National security trumps (ha!) Environmental concerns. I'm sure a good lawyer could explain it to Althouse.

As someone who has worked on DoD environmental programs for years, I can assure you it most definitely does not.

EMD said...

"Build the walls out of solar panels."

So you're in favor of a higher tax burden to make this happen, then.

Kelly said...

We're not talking about it because it will never be built. He knows it, I know it, everyone knows he is lying through his teeth.

Fabi said...

It's already an FU election, Sebastion -- for better or worse.

Per the aesthetics: really? As noted above, there's not much that ruins a pristine vista like a windmill farm. And solar panels? Even a larger and uglier impact, even without considering the heavy metal impact of their production. The wall may not be attractive but it will have a tremendous return on investment.

Birkel said...

The environment has never been better in the history of humankind.

It is a good news story that has been buried for political reasons, to stoke fear and marshal more power to the federal government.

Let's not allow this inconvenient truth out.

n.n said...

The wall does not need to be built. Only its threat needs to persuade second and third-world nations, and marginalize anti-native activists, so that the causes of mass exodus are addressed. Not unlike the effect of Russia's intervention in the Middle East after Obama et al's premature evacuation and abandonment of the people, and blind eye to the progress of terrorist organizations, that exploited and sustains a mass exodus and disenfranchisement of native people in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and America.

icepilot said...

"a wall slicing through such a long huge length of" of America, "imping[ing] on nature so brutally"

So no freeways, airports or big cities for Althouse. I wonder how much a typical University brutalizes nature?

Freder Frederson said...

The environment has never been better in the history of humankind.

Can you back up this statement with any empirical evidence? The environment in certain developed countries might be better than it has been a century or so, but better than in the "history of humankind". Not a chance.

Birkel said...

Freder,
The empirical evidence is not hidden.
Life expectancy
Dysentery deaths
Cryptosporidia ppm in drinking water

Choose a statistic you like, you unthinking buffoon.
You know so little history and so little science that you had no choice to be a collectivist.

Birkel said...

Better yet, Freder, define environment in a meaningful way.
Leftists are such ignorant sluts.

Fernandinande said...

"Javelina (Pecari tajacu) turn away after looking for 100 yards for a place to cross the U.S.-Mexico border fence near the San Pedro river corridor in Arizona in July 2008."

I used to spend a fair amount of time in that area, and up to...early 1990s?...the border was just a dirt road with a run-down barbed wire fence on wooden posts, and you could hop over and back with no problem. There are a surprising number and variety of animals there, especially birds.

Anyway, here's an environmental lawsuit against the wall filed in 2007 by Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife. I guess they lost (you can see the wall on google maps - I wouldn't trust Newspeek).

Spiros Pappas said...

A wall would lead to habitat fragmentation and restrict animal movement, thereby increasing the genetic isolation of (non-avian) animal populations. But so what?

Fernandinande said...

Anglelyne said...
"Resentful, Fearful, Disaffected Blue Collar Type Who Wants the Government to Give Me a Helping Hand".


Charles Murray
Trump’s America
...
What does this ideology—Huntington called it the “American creed”—consist of? Its three core values may be summarized as egalitarianism, liberty and individualism. From these flow other familiar aspects of the national creed that observers have long identified: equality before the law, equality of opportunity, freedom of speech and association, self-reliance, limited government, free-market economics, decentralized and devolved political authority.

As recently as 1960, the creed was our national consensus.
...long snip...
Then things started to change. For white working-class men in their 30s and 40s—what should be the prime decades for working and raising a family—participation in the labor force dropped from 96% in 1968 to 79% in 2015. Over that same period, the portion of these men who were married dropped from 86% to 52%. (The numbers for nonwhite working-class males show declines as well, though not as steep and not as continuous.)

These are stunning changes, and they are visible across the country. In today’s average white working-class neighborhood, about one out of five men in the prime of life isn’t even looking for work; they are living off girlfriends, siblings or parents, on disability, or else subsisting on off-the-books or criminal income. Almost half aren’t married, with all the collateral social problems that go with large numbers of unattached males.
++

I think what they want is "egalitarianism, liberty and individualism", not racial favoritism (= AA = "a helping hand" for everyone else), asking for permission and group identities, and also not to be dismissed as Bible-clinging gun-huggers or whatever drivel Big-O emitted.

Freder Frederson said...

As recently as 1960, the creed was our national consensus.

Really?! In 1960 31.4% of the workforce was unionized (the peak was 1955 at 33.2%). That hardly reflects a society obsessed with "self-reliance, limited government, free-market economics, decentralized and devolved political authority." If you want to pinpoint the destruction of the white working class, blame it on the destruction of the unions, which they brought on themselves by voting for Ronald Reagan.

Freder Frederson said...

Life expectancy
Dysentery deaths
Cryptosporidia ppm in drinking water


Those are public health, not environmental measures. I could choose rate of extinction, any air pollutant, heavy metal contamination, etc.

Oh, and by the way cryptosporidiam is spread by human waste, exactly reduced by the water treatment systems introduced over the last 125 years or so.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Because no one who's smart enough to care about the environment is stupid enough to believe that this brainfart of Trump's will go anywhere.

Eric Landgraf said...

Ann,
It could be engineered to account for environmental risks. Further such a wall might be used to establish a national wildlife refuge that runs from the outskirts of San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico.

It would be costly though.

it could be mad into an enormous bird refuge.

ken in tx said...

We've had those pigmy owls in our yard here in NW Austin. I don't think they will be much affected by a border wall hundreds of miles away.

BTW the Spring Turtle Doves just showed up today. Soon they will be all over the place and Turtling loudly all day. 81 degrees this afternoon here.

MayBee said...

Oh great. The DoD has environmental programs.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

My wife and I waded across the Rio Grande into Texas in 1978.

Of course, we had waded across the Rio Grande into Mexico about one minute earlier.

Still, we are now both actually wetbacks.

hombre said...

Angelyne: Javelina are eaten, but their musk gland must be removed immediately after they are killed. They are not pigs, but are gamey tasting like wild boar.

Freder Frederson said...

The DoD has environmental programs.

Of course it does. It also maintains a lot of critical habitat for endangered species like the desert tortoise (Twenty-nine Palms and National Training Center) and the red cockaded woodpecker (Eglin, Bragg, and a bunch of other bases in the southeast), and hundreds of others of endangered and threatened species.

Anglelyne said...

hombre: Javelina are eaten, but their musk gland must be removed immediately after they are killed. They are not pigs, but are gamey tasting like wild boar.

Thanks hombre!

Fernandinande said...

Anglelyne said...
Do people eat javelinas?


Commercial farming of collared peccary
"A Large-scale commercial farming of collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu) in North-Eastern Brazil"

Fernandinande said...

Anglelyne said...
Do people eat javelinas?


Commercial farming of collared peccary
"A Large-scale commercial farming of collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu) in North-Eastern Brazil"

Birkel said...

So Freder Frederson admits everything and denies everything.

You are a stupid son of a hitch, aren't you, Freder?

Birkel said...

I notice you will not define environment and wish to discern public health.

What a dumb ass!!