(NewsNation) — Animal rights activists are fighting Arizona’s governor actively building a barrier along the southern border using shipping containers.
They’re trying to keep the project out of a national forest, saying it could hurt the migration of several species.
Since the beginning of August, nearly 7.5 million fentanyl pills have been seized at that port of entry alone. This sort of activity is providing much of the impetus to keep moving on the container project.
The federal government is pushing back against this project as well as one organization that is working against extinction when it comes to certain migratory animals in the Coronado National Forest.
For the last two weeks in Cochise County, workers have been staging and moving shipping containers along Arizona’s border with Mexico. The project will stretch 10 miles on national forest land, which also acts as a migratory pathway for some endangered species like jaguar and ocelot.
“It’s just a game. Wildlife is going to be the losers, as is the environment,” Robin Silver said.
Silver, a co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, said this shipping container wall will serve a purpose — just not the one the state is hoping for.
“The stunt is not going to affect the movement of people. It’s not going to stop the smuggling of people as well as drugs across the border. But it will stop wildlife. There’s no doubt about that,” Silver said.
The organization has sent a letter of intent to sue Ducey’s administration if the project doesn’t come to a halt. They aren’t the only ones fighting the governor, either.
The Bureau of Reclamation is demanding the containers be removed and no new ones be placed, saying Ducey is violating federal law. Ducey is suing the Biden administration asking a judge to determine that the land is designated for state use.
And while Ducey said Arizona is not backing down, Silver said the battle against extinction is worth fighting.
“We just want to make sure the judge understands what are the costs of what Ducey is doing,” Silver said.
When it comes to the next steps for the Center for Biological Diversity, Silver said the organization plans to file on Wednesday to intervene in Ducey’s lawsuit, hoping to get word over to the judge about the environmental impacts the shipping containers will cause.