Attorney General Mark Brnovich made the dubious claim that Arizona’s natural landscapes will suffer without a better border wall.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming the White House’s decision to pause construction on a U.S.-Mexico border wall has had “environmentally disruptive” consequences.
According to The Arizona Capitol Times, Brnovich’s complaint states that the National Environmental Policy Act requires the federal government to conduct a study to determine the effects of any significant change in policy.
But Brnovich says that the Biden administration did not conduct or commission any such study, both in regards to its decision to halt border wall construction and to terminate former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” initiative.
“Defendants have embarked on multiple environmentally disruptive policies without performing even cursory environmental analysis,” the lawsuit states.
Brnovich claims that the effects of these policy changes will be both immediate and noticeable, as migrants may litter wild landscapes during desert crossings. Furthermore, the lawsuit suggests, any increase in immigration—legal or not—will bring more people both to Arizona and the nation as the whole.
“When the Biden administration, the day he came into office, canceled construction of the wall […] this resulted in a dramatic increase of the number of people coming into this country crossing the border illegally,” he said.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent carries flags through the desert. Image via Maxpixel, claimed public domain. (http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Border-Patrol-Border-Patrol-Security-Flags-2747624)
The Capitol Times notes that Brnovich told Capitol Media Services that his lawsuit is inspired by the sorts of delay-tactics used by groups like the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson.
“The Left has used this to delay all sorts of projects,” Brnovich said. “We know that the 9th Circuit [Court of Appeals] has used this to stop highway construction. They’ve stopped airport expansion as a result of the feds not doing environmental impact studies.”
Interestingly, Brnovich indicated that his lawsuit is politically neutral—since constructing a border fence is, apparently, better for the environment than not.
“The reality is that regardless of what your views are on immigration, whether you think we need more of it or less of it, the way this is being done right now is having a devastating impact on the environment,” Brnovich said. “And if the Left was intellectually honest, they would join me in this lawsuit to try to preserve Arizona wildlife and habitat.”
However, Brian Segee—senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity—was quick to respond to Brnovich’s suit, calling it “political grandstanding and an insult to border communities, wildlife, and wild lands.”
“If Arizona’s attorney general truly cared about the environment he would’ve sued the Trump administration for ignoring environmental laws and tried to stop these destructive walls from being built,” Segee said.
AG lawsuit seeks environmental impact study on federal immigration policy
Arizona Attorney General sues over Biden’s border policies