Border agent death reignites security environmental protection, public lands debate

By Jessica Goad and Christy Goldfuss

Climate Progress

Congressman Rob Bishop

What do laws protecting national parks and the accidental death of a border patrol agent have in common?  Nothing. And yet a Congressman from Utah has used a recent incident to push for legislation that addresses border safety by gutting environmental laws.

Last week, Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie was killed in what was apparently friendly fire while responding to an alarm along the U.S.-Mexico border near Bisbee, Arizona.  The incident remains under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This tragic incident has also reignited the debate around the relationship between environmental laws, public lands, and border security.

Before it was clear that Ivie had been killed not by drug smugglers but in an accident, two Utah Congressmen issued a press release offering their condolences and also highlighting the fact that the incident took place on public lands.  The press release stated that “The shootings occurred in the immediate proximity of federal lands…” and reminded readers that another border patrol agent was killed “on federal lands about 70 miles from where this incident took place” in December 2010.


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