Saturday, December 2, 2023


Western Views: Make the Border Wall an asset, not a liability

By Len Wilcox
Back when I was growing up in a small town on the Rio Grande, the border with Mexico was just a line in the sand – sometimes a barb wire fence, sometimes a totally imaginary line stretching across those hundreds of miles of desert. We’d go out in that desert to explore old lava flows, sink holes, canyons and mountains, and never give a thought to the fact we were next to, and sometimes accidentally entering, a foreign country. The need for a wall never entered our minds.

That, of course, is all different now. President Trump’s plan for a wall has divided the country. Yet, I think most of us see that there is a need for a secure border. The times have changed. An open border is a luxury we just can’t afford any more. A wall is one suggestion. Another group dreams of building an international peace park. But the most bold idea would have us build something useful that becomes an asset for both countries.

The idea comes out of Purdue University. Professors there envision a 2,000-mile solar and wind energy park and transmission route. Some of the electricity would power massive desalination plants, which would travel by pipeline to new agricultural, industrial and community centers along or near the route.

The plan would transform the entire region. The area is energy-rich with large reserves of natural gas and shale oil nearby. With copious desert sunshine, just think how much power a 2,000-mile string of solar panels along the border, coupled with wind machines in the high wind areas, would generate. All of these sorts of facilities require a lot of security, so including them in the border zone seems practical.

According to the scientists, it makes good sense. The development cost would be an investment, with returns from electrical power sales and land development. New industrial and agricultural centers would grow out of the desert sand under controlled circumstances which could reduce environmental impacts and protect the sovereign rights of both countries, while controlling the flow of people and products over the border. It makes more sense than a wall that has to be maintained and monitored with no other return on our investment.

Editor: Please keep your comments civil. Thank you.



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Joe Allen (@guest_44895)
4 years ago

As an advocate for secure borders and the wall, I believe the professor hit on a great idea with using energy and guards to not only protect the equipment, but protect our border as well.
I believe most all American’s can agree with that idea and we can move forward with fixing infrastructure that is crumbling before our eyes! God bless America!

Wayne (@guest_44894)
4 years ago

Here’s a presentation about the un-intended consequences of renewables.

Wayne (@guest_44889)
4 years ago

Just would like to point out DT can not be blamed for “dividing” the country. A near 50 50 split has been the case for many years before Trump.

Lindalu (@guest_44868)
4 years ago

There’s an international Peace Park at the Canadian border, but one still must be properly processed back and forth across the border, so I’m a little lost as to what having one at the southern border really means. Will having a peace park make people come in legally when they have no legal reason to live in America? We process between one and two million legal immigrants every year—very generous by any standard. I’ve been across the border many times, but still don’t see what a solar array or wind generators have to do with it. I don’t think I’m dense, so ‘splain it to me, Lucy. Let’s just get back to RVing, ok?

KellyR (@guest_44867)
4 years ago

Of course this is an RV issue. Look at all the boondocking space that all those solar panels would take up.

Patrick D'Annunzio (@guest_44847)
4 years ago

No wall will stop illegal immigration. They’ll still go over, under or through any wall that’s built. And, it will cause more harm than good especially environmentally. I do like the ideal of solar and wind farms in the barren areas though and I believe maintaining them will help reduce the immigrant problem somewhat.

Jim Blevins (@guest_44825)
4 years ago

Im with George! I said it once and I will say it again!!!! Im an avid hunter not a gun enthusiast and a avid RVer, much more of the politically charged banter and im unsubscribing to this weekly Email!!!! You really think people check their Saturday email for RVing info and say I cant wait to see what Chuck Bob Joe Ted Sally wrote this week about something Political??? Oh I almost forgot? RVers use fossil fuel,drive 10mpg vehicles and burn fire wood while cooking red meat! I think I covered most of it.

LindaH (@guest_44931)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jim Blevins

I too am an avid gun enthusiast and RVer, but I don’t mind these thoughtful off RV topics. It’s always interesting hearing other perspectives when presented in a respectful, thoughtful manner. There is still so much RV related articles provided each week that these off topic excursions don’t bother me. Instead, I find they expands my view of political topics that may be opposite of mine.

Drew (@guest_44803)
4 years ago


I think border security and solar projects are two different things. Maybe you should tell that to Purdue University.

Tom Fitch (@guest_44793)
4 years ago

Thanks, Len – an intriguing perspective. My biggest issue with a continuous wall is that it would be a huge barrier for wildlife. I don’t know that a solar array would improve on that. I’m also afraid that the power drop moving the electricity from the area to where it is used might blow up the economics of this idea. Still, I like outside-the-box thinking like this!

Roger Marble (@guest_44755)
4 years ago

Interesting idea. One fact I haven’t heard is why are we having problems processing immigrants. Before the Civil War the US processed 400,000 a year. In 1884 it was 800,000. Yet today, even with all our technology we have a problem handling this many people. Why?

Len Wilcox (@guest_44798)
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

Good question!

Ken (@guest_44807)
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

Civil servants. 8-4, weekends off, 13 holidays a years, no overtime, SHAPE training, protests, snow storms (admin day), inspections and daily processing quota.

George (@guest_44811)
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

Two different issues. One has to do with ‘Legal’ Immigration, the other is ‘Illegal’ immigration. Legal immigration in America runs around one MILLION every year. Illegal immigrants are not processed.

Alex (@guest_44743)
4 years ago

Sorry Len. Those solar panels would vanish quicker than your Toyota’s alloy wheels, at night, in a Tijuana alley.

Len Wilcox (@guest_44796)
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Ok, got me there!

George (@guest_44740)
4 years ago

What does this article have to do with RV’ing? Just another recent attempt to politicize RV Travel.

Alex (@guest_44752)
4 years ago
Reply to  George

Hey George, enlighten up!

Len Wilcox (@guest_44797)
4 years ago
Reply to  George

Sorry you feel that way but thanks for commenting, George.

George (@guest_44813)
4 years ago
Reply to  Len Wilcox

No disrespect intended with my comment(s). But the responses confirm this is a political issue and not a RV story. Please ‘enlighten’ me if I’m wrong.

Ed D. (@guest_44713)
4 years ago

What exactly is an “International Peace Park”? If this is just a matter of installing wind and Solar power devices along the Border, how will that secure it? If it is just another “Green New Deal” idea from the Climate change purveyors, I, for one, reject it as just another ploy to avoid securing our Borders. If it is an idea to “Build a Wall” and then install these devices on the wall, it may help to a degree. The one thing I always look for, is if both sides of the issue are presented when someone makes a case for “renewable energy”. In this case, just the Sunnyside was presented. Solar need Sun and Turbines need wind. Neither is a constant. Please respond to my response. Thank you.

Len Wilcox (@guest_44794)
4 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hi Ed, thanks for your comments. The power generating facilities need security, the border needs security – putting the two together gets us (the taxpayers) twice the bang for our buck. The thing I like about this is, it could change the wall from a money pit to a profit center. As far as needing both sun and wind, the country from Texas to California has plenty of both. Engineering studies would need to confirm it, but I would expect there is plenty there to make it all work.

KellyR (@guest_44865)
4 years ago
Reply to  Len Wilcox

Of all the comments, it appears that Len is on the right track.

Terry Johnson (@guest_44883)
4 years ago
Reply to  Len Wilcox

Our problem would still be that our law makers won’t agree to this they are so wrapped up in politics they don’t listen to what the people suggest!

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