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N4T Investigators: Border Build – UPDATE

TUCSON – We have an update on a story the News 4 Tucson Investigators broke earlier this year about a construction project right along the border in Santa Cruz County.

Despite calls from several environmental groups to stop the project, it is now moving forward.

That project, a bridge over the Santa Cruz River south of Kino springs in Santa Cruz County, was first uncovered by the News 4 Tucson Investigators back in April.

At first, federal authorities told us the project was for a road, but after our story aired, they confirmed additional details of the project.

Among those opposed to the construction, is the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and others.

“We’ve made repeated attempts to get Border Patrol to hold a public hearing to ask for environmental planning documents, and we’ve gotten total radio silence. We haven’t even been dignified with a basic response,” said the center’s Laiken Jordahl.

In a statement to the News 4 Tucson Investigators, CBP told us the area is heavily impacted by rainwater, prohibiting safe travel and access by law enforcement officials, and upon completion, the project will allow agents quick access to the area for improved border security

Alex Mills, whose Buena Vista Ranch lies due north of the project tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, he hasn’t seen many people crossing illegally in his 40 years living along the border.

“It’s a great place to live, and in our case, you have Border Patrol on the property 24/7, so it’s like having a private police force 24/7. So, no I’m not afraid at all. It’s probably one of the safest places you could find,” Mills said.

Jordahl tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, the Center for Biological Diversity has already filed a half-dozen lawsuits against the Trump administration over similar projects along the border.

“Those lawsuits challenge the administration’s failure to conduct environmental analysis and planning which would apply to this project, and those lawsuits also challenge the administration’s waiver of dozens and dozens of environmental laws,” Jordahl said.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators will continue to monitor progress on this project.

If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at (520)955-4444.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham

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