The National Butterfly Center, in danger of losing access to most of its wildlife nature preserve along the Rio Grande, is asking a court to stop federal officials from building a border wall across its land.
The North American Butterfly Association first sued more than a year ago after government officials allegedly cut down trees and cleared brush on its Texas property. The planned wall would cut the 100-acre property in two, with as much as 70 percent of the land inaccessible between the wall and the Rio Grande, Butterfly Center Executive Director Marianna Trevino Wright has told NPR.
Trevino Wright told CNN last week that the case had been "languishing" in the court since then and that she was exploring further legal action. This week, she asked the court to stop the government from bringing heavy machinery onto its land, until the court can rule on its original 2017 request.
It's the latest court challenge brought by environmental groups that lament the damage caused by construction of barriers between U.S. and Mexico.
On Monday, a federal court ruled that the Trump administration has broad authority to waive environmental laws in the name of border security. The Department of Homeland Security has already said it will waive regulations to build along the Rio Grande.
Over the past week, government officials have "driven their trucks and heavy machinery back and forth across the Butterfly Center as if they own it," NABA told the court. They've also "blocked access to more than two-thirds of the Butterfly Center with law enforcement vehicles and by cutting the Butterfly Center's lock on one of its gates and replacing it with one of their own."