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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

April 28, 2008
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, 512-477-2152 

Sierra Club Welcomes Congressional Field Hearing on Border Wall
Visit by Lawmakers to Threatened Communities, Natural Areas “Can Only Help”


Brownsville, Texas: Sierra Club welcomes subcommittees of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee to Texas today for a field hearing to discuss the controversial border wall and recent waivers issued by the Bush Administration to fast-track its construction. In March, the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the challenge that such waivers are unconstitutional.

“The Bush Administration’s recent waiver of more than 30 environmental and other federal laws shows once again that this Administration thinks it is above the law,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. “We applaud Reps. Raśl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam-at large) for taking the initiative to hold this hearing, which can only help raise awareness about the communities and natural areas threatened by this border wall.”

The state of Texas is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the border wall due to the length of its border with Mexico and the vibrant ecology and economy of its border region. Texas areas at risk include the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area, the Sabal Palm Grove Sanctuary, and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.

"We are glad to see the lawmakers from Washington coming to the border region to see how devastating this controversial border wall would be to local communities and wildlife areas,” said Ken Kramer, Sierra Club Lone Star (Texas) Chapter director. “This important field hearing will allow more public officials to see that waiving longstanding laws to build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border would undermine decades of work to establish and preserve a vibrant wildlife corridor. This would be a devastating blow to the eco-tourism that is so much a part of the Valley economy.”

The hearing will be held in Brownsville, Texas on Monday, April 28 at 10:00 AM, in the Lecture Hall of the Science, Engineering and Technology Building (SET-B) at the University of Texas-Brownsville.


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