Judicial Watch • $52 Mil To Restore Habitat Damaged By Border Fence

$52 Mil To Restore Habitat Damaged By Border Fence

$52 Mil To Restore Habitat Damaged By Border Fence

NOVEMBER 01, 2010

The region where an illegal immigrant murdered an Arizona rancher six months ago remains plagued by Mexican drug-cartel violence yet the Obama Administration has chosen to spend $52 million on restoring habitat damaged by the border fence rather than secure the area.

A chunk of the cash—$14.3 million—will fund more than a dozen habitat restoration projects in a region long afflicted by the violence of Mexican drug and human smuggling operations. It’s an area where earlier this year a veteran cattle rancher (Robert Krentz) was gunned down by an illegal immigrant on his 34,000-acre property in Cochise County near the southern border.

Instead of dedicating resources to securing the crime-infested border region, the government will spend tens of millions of dollars to develop jaguar management plans, monitor fish populations, study bat movements, restore wetlands and plant various species of an ornamental tree native to the southwestern United States. The goal is to restore the areas damaged by construction of the border fence, according to the Arizona newspaper that reported the story over the weekend.

Billions have been spent on erecting fences along the 2,000-mile southern border and its time Uncle Sam allocates cash to protecting animals and plants, according to a government official quoted in the story. In this particular crime-infested area of Arizona, the tax dollars will go to six initial projects that include monitoring jaguars and restoring jaguar habitat ($2.1 million), monitoring endangered long-nosed and Mexican bat roosts ($1.9 million) and restoring vegetation in a stretch “damaged” by 5.2 miles of fence near Lukeville ($980,000).

Pointing out that the region’s ranchers and residents live in a “lawless” area “controlled by drug cartels,” the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association suggests that the government prioritize protecting humans over wildlife. Drug smugglers disrupt everyday life and ranchers see the degradation of their environment yet the administration doesn’t help restore their habitat, the group points out.

 

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