Environmentalists Sue Feds over $3 Billion Indiana Highway
Sunday, February 20, 2011
A $3 billion highway project in Indiana threatens to destroy thousands of acres of forests, farmlands, caves and aquatic ecosystems, according to environmentalists suing the federal government to halt construction.
The Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads argue that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke the law when it granted permits to the Indiana Department of Transportation to dump landfill material into about 60 acres of protected wetlands in two counties. The material would come from development of a 142-mile stretch of Interstate 69 between Evansville and Indianapolis.
Environmentalists want the Corps of Engineers to consider alternatives to building the extension of I-69, such as improving existing U.S. 41 and I-70. Going this route would cost $1 billion less and reduce environmental damage by 60%, they claim.
But stopping the interstate project faces long odds, writes the Indianapolis Business Journal, noting that a 1.7- mile stretch of I-69 northeast of Evansville has already been completed.
Enviros Challenge $3 Billion Highway Project (by Glynis Farrell, Courthouse News Service)
Groups File Suit to Stop I-69 Work Downstate (by Chris O’Malley, Indianapolis Business Journal)
Hoosier Environmental Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (U.S. District Court, Southern Indiana) (pdf)
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