In a major setback to the environment last week, the Laredo TX city council voted to allow the Border Patrol to aerially spray the US-Mexico border with the toxic herbicide Imazapyr, a substance which begins to kill all vegetation immediately upon application. Many residents at the meeting opposed this move, citing the environmental impact and potential health side effects, as well as the likelihood that the chemical could contaminate the water supply for Nuevo Laredo, their Mexican sister-city.
The accompanying photo (above) shows the effects of an aerial spray conducted six months prior on a test site near Laredo. Federal officials considered the results "successful" in efforts to eradicate the invasive plant carrizo; however, the site now slated for defoliation contains 1000 living species, including four endangered species. This photo was taken on the Zachary Ranch in March 2008 by Dr. Jim Earhart of the Rio Grande International Study Center.
Local activist Jay J. Johnson-Castro Sr. of the Rio Grande International Study Center stated in a telephone interview that federal agents intend to eventually spray the extensive border river area, from Big Bend to Brownsville Texas. "Why would they make the initial spray in a populated area?" he queried. Clearing 1.1 miles of border between the cities of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo will cost $2 Million.
Activists on the Yahoo group "No Border Wall" urge the public to contact the office of US Attorney General Eric Holder to protest the impending action: http://www.usdoj.gov
The detrimental effect of toxic air pollutants is documented on the US Environmental Protection Agency website.This post has been cross-posted anywhere I could put it on the internet! For info on this developing story, click "Read More"
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