Doug Ducey has exactly 10 more days left in office as Arizona's Governor, before Katie Hobbs takes over in early January 2023. What's he doing with his precious few days left? Well, something totally wasteful and ineffective—and also illegal—of course! He's been trying to add to a border wall made out of shipping containers that he started earlier this year. It's being erected on tribal and federal land, so he's not legally allowed to do this, but he doesn't seem to care. Melissa del Bosque, writing for The Guardian, reports:
Doug Ducey is driving a project that is placing double-stacked old shipping containers through several miles of national forest, attempting to fill gaps in Donald Trump's intermittent border fencing.
The rusting hulks, topped with razor wire and with bits of metal jammed into gaps, stretch for more than three miles through Coronado national forest land, south of Tucson, and the governor has announced plans to extend that up to 10 miles, at a cost of $95m (£78m).
The area, with mountain ranges rising abruptly from the desert and a diverse environment of plants and animals, is federal land maintained by the US Forest Service.
New construction has halted on the barrier because of a lawsuit brought by the Biden administration last week. This has left, as The New York Times explains, more than 800 shipping containers "orphaned on the border, welded together with steel plates and fringed with concertina wire." Jack Healy, writing for The New York Times explains:
The Biden administration went to court last week seeking to tear down Mr. Ducey's wall, saying the governor had no power to unilaterally reshape federally managed public lands. There were no environmental reviews or public hearings before work crews began widening roads and tearing down oaks and junipers.
Critics argue that the barrier is both illegal and ineffective. Again, The New York Times:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose agency oversees national forests, said the container wall was "unauthorized and unlawful," and that it would not deter illegal crossings.
The Guardian reports that the incoming Arizona governor, Katie Hobbs, will remove the current container wall, which the New York Times stated has cost $82 million, a figure much higher than the $6 million Dough Ducey had projected. However, KJZZ explains that while Hobbs will definitely halt any new construction, she might be prevented from removing the existing structure because she might need permission from the Republican-led Arizona state legislature. KJZZ reports:
Hobbs has called the move from current Gov. Doug Ducey a political stunt that is not providing an effective barrier.
Hobbs has sided with the claims from the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service that placing the containers there is a trespass on federally owned land.
"It's not land that's our land to put things on. That's one problem. The containers aren't working. There's many pictures of people climbing over them," Hobbs said.
There is no decision from Hobbs on whether she will take them down as that could require permission from the state Legislature, which has a Republican majority.