Border Patrol vehicles scarring Southern AZ. wildlands, enviros say

2013-02-21T21:01:00Z 2013-02-22T12:31:29Z Border Patrol vehicles scarring Southern AZ. wildlands, enviros sayTony Davis Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2013 9:01 pm  • 

This new, 3-minute video from the Sierra Club, "Too Many Tracks," shows dirt roads snaking through the Organ Pipe National Monument and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and allegedly causing untold damage to the desert.

The video pins the blame for these swaths of road on the U.S. Border Patrol, for what activists in the club and the Center for Biological Diversity say is building and blazing far more miles of road than what's needed for border security.

With soothing guitars straight out of "Wouldn't it be Nice" by the Beach Boys providing a soundtrack, the video illustrates the activists' view that the B.P. has created a "military industrial complex" along the AZ-Mexico border that has ratcheted up off-roading activities by the federal agents. The activists say this causes compacted soil, water channeling, and wildlife impacts "on a huge scale." "Free rein" is how the center's Cyndi Tuell described the Border Patrol's activities in these wilderness areas.

In response to the video, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which includes the Border Patrol, issued this statement:

 "The preservation of our valuable natural and cultural resources is of great importance to CBP and we are fully engaged in efforts that consider environmental impact as we work to secure our Nation’s borders.  The Border Patrol complies with all established laws and reporting procedures in place at National Parks and protected wilderness areas. We are committed to responsible environmental stewardship and look forward to working with interested parties and border residents to accomplish our mission while preserving the environment."

Asked, in response to this statement, if the agency either admits to or denies the allegations made by the environmentalists, CBP spokesman Victor Drabble replied, "... beyond the statement that we have already provided, there is nothing more we will comment on."



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Star reporter Tony Davis covers topics in this blog that you have read under his byline for more than 30 years in the Southwest: water, growth, sprawl, pollution, climate change, endangered species, mining, grazing and traffic.

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