REFERENCE TITLE: restore the borderlands; urging Congress
State of Arizona
First Regular Session
Urging the congress of the united states of america to revitalize the natural resources and economy of the borderlands.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
To the Congress of the United States of America and the Secretaries of the United States Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security:
Your memorialist respectfully represents:
Whereas, the border region uniting the United States and Mexico is an area of exceptional cultural and ecological diversity; and
Whereas, a resilient border environment, a sustainable economy and strong communities benefit both nations and strengthen their cooperation; and
Whereas, extended drought has had a disproportionate impact on rural communities, farmers, ranchers and other individuals who are dependent on water and irrigation in the desert; and
Whereas, construction of the border wall has adversely affected streams, springs and wetlands near the border, many of which are sacred to indigenous peoples; and
Whereas, wall construction has severed migratory pathways for many species, including deer, bison, jaguars and other species of concern to the public and science; and
Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to hardship and a dramatic rise in unemployment, particularly for people of color and from other underrepresented groups who face systemic barriers to economic well-being; and
Whereas, many of these same people hold traditional and experiential knowledge that is extremely valuable to restoring and sustaining productive livelihoods in the arid border region; and
Whereas, Arizona has long been at the forefront in developing scientific understanding and practical tools for ecological restoration, sustainable land use and collaborative conservation, including internationally recognized work in the very lands most impacted by recent federal border policies and most in need of immediate attention.
Wherefore your memorialist, the Senate of the State of Arizona, prays:
1. That the United States Congress pursue actions to immediately restore critical wildlife connections as an important first step toward conserving wildlife and protecting the integrity of the network of parks, natural areas and sacred sites that have been nurtured for generations on both sides of the border.
2. That the United States Congress fund restoration of highly degraded riverine, riparian and wetland habitats to protect natural resources and jump-start local economies by safeguarding water, the lifeblood for people, agriculture, industry and nature in the desert.
3. That the United States Congress provide for a new Borderlands Conservation Corps, modeled after the successes of the Civilian Conservation Corps, to train and provide opportunities for underemployed residents in the border region, to address environmental justice by improving environmental quality in underserved communities, to mitigate the environmental impacts of the border wall and to ensure that conservation and economic development are carried forward together, at scales that tip the balance toward sustainable communities and secure borders.
4. That the United States Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security carefully consider the recommendations for addressing the need to restore the borderlands outlined in this Memorial and implement these in a timely and efficient manner, to the best of their ability, in close cooperation with landowners, public servants and elected officials of Arizona and neighboring states.
5. That the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona transmit copies of this Memorial to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, each Member of Congress from the State of Arizona, the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security.