Energy & Environment

Butterfly sanctuary asks for restraining order to block wall construction

A Texas butterfly sanctuary positioned along the U.S.-Mexico border has filed a motion for a restraining order against the Trump administration to stop construction of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE’s long-promised border wall, the Texas Observer reported.

Attorneys representing the National Butterfly Center asked a federal judge late Monday to block the barrier, which would run through its property, and stop the government from using the refuge’s land as a pathway to build anywhere else, according to the newspaper.

The center reportedly accused the Trump administration of “defy[ing] centuries of democratic values that shield Americans from government action depriving individuals of their rightful property without notice and an opportunity to be heard” in its request.

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The motion called for the judge to block the administration and its contractors from making any efforts at the sanctuary that it deemed to be “in furtherance of the construction of a border wall” and from interfering with the refuge’s “use and enjoyment of its property,” according to the Observer.

The newspaper noted that the motion is part of a lawsuit the center filed in December 2017 that accused the government of pushing the wall forward in an unconstitutional manner.

“We will not stand idly by as the bulldozers roll in,” Marianna Treviño-Wright, the executive director of the butterfly center, said in a statement to the Observer. “We will not wait to be heard, until sometime after our land has been seized and destroyed for this racist wall.”

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Treviño-Wright also alleged in an affidavit filed on Saturday that a member of the refuge discovered the center’s “lock and chain had been cut off the gate and replaced with a [Customs and Border Protection] lock, which prevented our employees and visitors from accessing the majority of the Butterfly Center.”

The Trump administration is reportedly waiving nearly 30 environmental laws to build a wall at the site.

Funding approved by Congress in last year's federal budget will reportedly cover the expenses for 33 miles in the Rio Grande Valley, including a stretch of the barrier that is expected to cut off 70 of the butterfly habitat's 100 acres. 

The wall will also reportedly cut off the butterfly center’s entrance gates.