TUCSON – The News 4 Tucson Investigators have an update on a major construction project along the border in Santa Cruz County.
Last month, the News 4 Tucson Investigators first reported that Joint Task Force North was requesting heavy equipment rental and support to build a bridge over the Santa Cruz River near Kino Springs, east of Nogales.
Now several groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and others sent a letter to Customs and Border Protection demanding they stop the project.
“To move forward with a project like this, with no consideration for the environment, and for that wildlife, it’s really short-sighted,” said Laiken Jordahl with the Center for Biological Diversity.
After our first story aired, Border Patrol sent us a statement saying in part, “the project will allow agents quick access to the area for improved border security.”
But Jordahl said the project will do more harm than good.
“This is a rare river corridor in the Sonoran desert,” Jordah said. “Water is life in the Sonoran Desert, all animals, plants, congregate around this river and it’s some of the best habitats in the region.”
Jordahl said the groups fighting the project want it stopped until there are environmental studies done and public input.
“Any project that takes place in a waterway that would potentially impact the flow of the water or would alter the flood plain has to go through the clean water act process,” said Jordahl.
For now, the groups are monitoring the project. They are considering their options, including possible legal action.
“It is clear that the project they are undertaking right now is out of compliance with numerous environmental laws so all options are on the table,” Jordahl said.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators asked CBP for comment about the environmental group’s letter. They did not respond to our request by the time the story aired 10 p.m. Tuesday.