President Joe Biden’s day-one proclamation to stop construction of the southern border wall did not specify what to do with some $350 million worth of steel and other materials already delivered, which continues to sit exposed in the desert, The Atlantic reported on Monday.
Some contractors are still being paid to maintain already built portions of the border wall or guard leftover material, which, in addition to the steel, includes light poles, electrical supplies, crushed aggregate, processed riprap rock, sand, culvert materials, and piping.
A report from Republican staff on the Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, compiled by pro-border-wall Sen. James Lankford’s aides, declares that the Biden administration is spending $3 million a day for subcontractors to guard border-wall materials and keep work sites safe.
However, it is difficult to verify the accuracy of that figure, according to The Atlantic.
Myles Traphagen, who monitors the effects of border enforcement on the environment for the Wildlands Network, told The Atlantic that “we know how much an F-35 fighter costs and how much components cost for the latest Gerald Ford aircraft carrier. But everything regarding the borderlands wall is severely obscured from public review and scrutiny.”
Although the unused light poles, rebar, and other material can probably be easily repurposed and the steel is made to withstand exposure for a long time, complicating any chance at repurposing it is the fact that many of the bollars, or posts, have been partially filled with concrete and rebar.
“The government will seek to transfer usable material to other federal agencies before considering material for donation or sale,” Jay Field, a public-affairs officer at the Army Corps of Engineers, told The Atlantic.
However, he added that “we have no plans for separating the concrete from the excess bollards for disposition.”
The wall’s opponents claim that it is easily sawed through and requires near-constant repairs and monitoring.
Traphagen said that the wall represents the “erosion of the democratic process, compromising the integrity of environmental laws, and a fake emergency” that is “also a political and logistical quagmire.”