The rush to build Trump’s border wall

Here is National Public Radio:

In the Coronado National Memorial — where conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado entered what is now Arizona — contractors are pulverizing the wilderness in a rush to put up as many miles of border wall as possible before the Trump administration vacates Washington.

They’re dynamiting mountainsides and bulldozing pristine desert for a barrier the incoming Biden administration is expected to cancel.

“Wow! This is almost like busy work they’re doing,” exclaims biologist Myles Traphagen as he drives his truck up to the construction staging area and beholds the destruction for the first time. He specializes on the Arizona borderlands for the Wildlands Network.

“They’re cutting roads into a place where no vehicle could go, not a four-wheeler,” he says. “But now they’re cutting into the mountain to create access to build a wall.”

This is one of 29 construction projects being performed by 13 different contractors from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. In Arizona, contractors have added shifts — they’re working all night long under light towers to meet Trump’s goal of 450 miles of new barriers before his term is over.

“There’s no doubt they’re accelerating the rate of construction,” says ecologist Ron Pulliam, who has been monitoring the wall’s progress on the Arizona border. “They’re trying to do as much as they can in the next 50 days. And Trump wants to fulfill his promise that he’s securing the border.”

Landowners and conservationists are irate. Gary Nabhan, a longtime author and ethnobotanist in the region, says Trump’s wall is forcing an unplanned experiment on the deserts of Southern Arizona.

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