A U.S. judge ruled Thursday against a butterfly sanctuary that had sued to keep President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall from cutting the refuge in two.
For months the National Butterfly Center has been arguing that the wall would be devastating for those insects and other creatures living in the habitat in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
As many as 200 species of butterfly live in the sanctuary, as do bobcats, coyotes, skunk pigs, armadillos and Texas turtles.
Financing for a wall going through the sanctuary was approved last year and is separate from the border appropriation fight that is currently roiling Washington. Construction could begin in a matter of weeks, local people said.
This butterfly sanctuary wants to be the hero that stops Trump’s border wall pic.twitter.com/0AqevRkVfo
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 13, 2019
The North American Butterfly Association, which runs the refuge, sued the government on grounds that the sanctuary is private property.
But federal judge Richard Leon ruled Thursday that the project can proceed.
Under the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the federal government has the right to exercise “eminent domain” and seize private property for public use. The government is obligated to pay the original owner market value for the property.
“On the same day the president announces he will declare a state of emergency, the federal judge throws out our case. We are not going away that easily!” the butterfly center said in a tweet.
The White House announced Thursday that Trump will declare a national emergency on the border with Mexico to build the wall by bypassing Congress to access funds that lawmakers are denying him.
More on the Subject
In the wake of the 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown, a new Gallup poll shows a solid majority of Americans oppose the proposal at the heart of the gridlock: a wall.
Sixty percent of Americans oppose significant new construction to the existing barrier along the Mexican border. This is a 3 percent increase from a poll conducted in June during the midterm election season, which showed 57 percent opposing significant new construction.