Wednesday, March 25, 2009
11th Hour Reprieve Today for 1 Mile of Planet Earth!
An 11th hour lawsuit against the US Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security buys time for creatures of 1000 living species that are slated for demolition along a 1.1 mile stretch of the US-Mexico border. Residents of local neighborhoods, whose homes are near the proposed Border Patrol pilot project site targeted to receive an aerial spraying by helicopter of the toxic herbicide Imazapyr, filed suit to impose an injunction on the action.
Yesterday officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol voluntarily agreed to temporarily delay aerial spraying of herbicide on carrizo along the Rio Grande River pending further international discussion of its cross border implications, according to this morning's report in the Laredo Morning Times. This temporary and indefinite postponement, subject to negotiations, now appears likely to be subject to court action in light of the lawsuit.
The Border Patrol wants to eliminate the tall invasive weed carrizo to improve visibility along the border, thus facilitating their duties. If this spraying project is successful, they hope to extend the spraying across hundreds of miles, from Big Bend to Brownsville, Texas.
Further information is available today at noon at a press conference scheduled to occur at San Francisco Javier Parish in the barrio de Colores, one of the affected Laredo areas. A copy of the lawsuit is available upon request from attorney Israel Reyna of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, according to information provided by Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr., Executive Director of the Rio Grande International Study Center.
Local news film footage of the controversy, including aerial photography of the Rio Grande, river bank photos of carrizo, reactions from concerned local environmentalists and Mexican political leaders is available at http://www.valleycentral.com/news/video.aspx?id=277287. [sorry, I can't embed it...but if you're interested in this, it's a good spot.]
The March 2008 photo (above) shows the effects of an aerial spray conducted six months prior on a test site near Laredo. The toxic herbicide Imazapyr is a substance which begins to kill all vegetation immediately upon application. It persists in the soil while its properties make it likely to contaminate the water of the Rio Grande, source of drinking water for Nuevo Laredo.