Broward News

Sierra Club Formally Opposes Southwest Ranches Detention Center

Along with agitated residents and the entire city government of Pembroke Pines, here's another addition to the list of opponents to the planned immigration detention facility in Southwest Ranches: the local branch of the Sierra Club.

The group released a formal resolution today opposing the construction of the roughly 1,500-bed facility by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), saying it posed a threat to the region's water resources.

"Building a large structure that will involve intensive water use, when water supplies are already overtaxed... will greatly harm Broward's residents and ecology," said Mara Shlackman, chair of the Broward Sierra Club, in a news release.

Judy Kuchta, who leads occasional expeditions into the Everglades (coincidentally, we'll have a writeup of one of those hikes coming tomorrow), also pointed out that the facility is almost directly adjacent to the Everglades ecosystem. "Buffer zones of lighter development around protected public lands are essential," she said.

Developer Ron Bergeron already operates a large industrial park in the immediate vicinity, and there's also a (soon-to-be-closed) state prison and a large county dump. It's not exactly pristine territory. Still, the facility will require a lot of water. The most recent deal calls for Pembroke Pines to provide that water, but commission members like Iris Siple, whose constituents live near the site, have been trying to reverse that pledge. CCA has said that it'll drill wells and treat its own water if necessary -- but that's not any consolation to environmentalists who fear further depletion or contamination of the Biscayne Aquifer.

Sierra Club Resolution
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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph