To the editor:
While there is no question that Haskell Indian Nations University is in great need of new science facilities, I fear that Haskell President Martin lost sight of the real issue when he proposed a wish list, including a new science center, ownership of the adjoining Baker Wetlands, and wetlands management funds as mitigation for a 31st Street SLT route.
Choosing an alignment for the road is not a process of bartering; it is a legal issue, subject to a variety of federal laws and regulations (NEPA, Environmental Justice, Clean Water Act & restrictions imposed by archeological and historic designations). It is ironic that Haskell proposes this expensive ``mitigation'' when the state has always claimed that it can use Haskell's land for free under an easement granted to Douglas County by the BIA for a county road in that location 25 years ago.
Sec. Carlson's response (J-W of May 8) to President Martin's list highlighted yet another irony: because Haskell did not join the Wetlands Organization in pursuing legal remedies (and paying for it with $25 donations from many Douglas County citizens), Haskell has no authority to pursue an outside ``settlement'' with KDOT and the other defendants.
The Wetlands Preservation Organization, KU Environs, and representatives of Haskell's students and alumni who are the plaintiffs in the legal battle are the only parties that KDOT must deal with now, and those plaintiffs simply want the highway builders to obey the laws regarding federal projects that impact sensitive environmental areas and the spiritual practices of indigenous people.
President Martin's wish list has no place in this legal discussion.
1034 E 450 Rd.