Last time we checked in with Brian Kolfage and We Build the Wall, they were moving ahead with construction while facing multiple lawsuits from environmentalists and open borders advocates. Several months have gone by, but not much has changed except for the location and the specific groups trying to stop them. This time they’re moving ahead with a new section of wall in Texas. The work crews are ready to go, but a judge has ordered a halt to the construction on behalf of a butterfly sanctuary. (WaPo)
For nearly a year, allies of President Trump ignored seemingly every obstacle that might keep their right-wing group from building a crowdfunded wall at multiple points along the U.S.-Mexico border…
But a Texas judge on Tuesday issued what may be the strongest rebuke yet to the group, which is led by Stephen K. Bannon, ordering it to temporarily halt all construction because of possible harm to a nearby nature preserve.
A state judge in Hidalgo County ruled that the National Butterfly Center, a 100-acre riverfront preserve in Mission, Tex., could face “imminent and irreparable harm” if We Build the Wall continues with plans to erect a “water wall” between the nature refuge and a state park.
This butterfly center has been involved in the ongoing debate over wall construction in Texas from the beginning. The original argument was that any sort of tall wall could produce some sort of negative impact on the butterflies. My initial response to that was to ponder whether or not there was some way that the butterflies might lift themselves up in the air to go over the wall. But I suppose that’s just crazy talk.
This time the argument is slightly different. The plaintiffs in the case are arguing that the wall could divert rainwater over onto the butterfly sanctuary, damaging the vegetation and ruining the insects’ habitat. While such things always have to be taken into consideration, it’s not really clear how that sort of flooding would be a concern. Looking at pictures of the wall segments they’ve already completed, the design consists of tall steel bollards that come all the way down to the surface with only a short crossbar resting on the ground. There are gaps between all of the bollards. How much water could it really divert?
But even if we accept the premise, this sounds like an easily resolved issue. They should be able to simply move the wall further away from the river to reduce flooding concerns. And since they are already using heavy construction equipment to prepare the installation site, the ground could be graded to ensure that any excess water runs away from the sanctuary.
The group’s progress could go off the rails, however, if Kolfage moves ahead with construction in defiance of the court order. He posted a video on Twitter on Tuesday showing his foreman talking about the project. He certainly sounds as if he plans on fishing the job despite what a judge may have said.
It’s really better to fight the opponents in court and win that way first, as they did in previous legal battles. If Kolfage just presses forward, he could find himself facing hefty fines or even jail time. This project has been in the works for years now. A few more weeks won’t make that much of a difference. So in this case, a little patience could go a long way.