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Archive for Friday, April 22, 2011

Environmental groups file appeal with 10th U.S. Circuit Court to stop South Lawrence Trafficway project

April 22, 2011

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Groups opposed to the planned South Lawrence Trafficway have asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the $188 million project.

The filing with the Denver-based court by six environmental groups and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation says that the proposed route through the Baker Wetlands violates federal environmental law.

“Our main objective is to protect the wetlands,” said attorney Bob Eye, who filed the appeal.

The Federal Highway Administration and Kansas Department of Transportation have 60 days to respond.

The appeal represents another step in the battle over attempts to connect Interstate 70 and Kansas Highway 10.

In November, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil issued a 59-page decision that affirmed the process used by the FHA to align an extension of the trafficway along what would be 32nd Street.

Vratil also said the federal agency incorrectly estimated that the 32nd Street alignment would cost less than a route farther south.

The environmental groups challenging the project are the Sierra Club, Jayhawk Audubon Society, Wetlands Protection Organization, Save the Wakarusa Wetlands, KU Environs and EcoJustice.

Comments

Neomarxist123 3 years, 8 months ago

Delay, delay, delay. The mantra of the greens.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

It's not a method or a mantra. It's a goal. The longer environmental and cultural destruction are delayed, the more likely it is that important habitats and cultural landmarks can be saved for perpetuity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes, they are fighting the "man," or least the greed, idiocy, ignorance and narcissism he represents-- characteristics you demonstrate in spades.

Blessed4x 3 years, 8 months ago

...and the more expensive the inevitable road construction becomes

Phil Minkin 3 years, 8 months ago

Pave and destroy. The manrta of the thoughtless.

Clark Coan 3 years, 8 months ago

Bob Eye is the best environmental attorney in the state. If anyone can win this, he can. He usually wins his cases. The court will probably rule in 18 months--a lot can happen in that amount of time. For example, gas could be $7.00/gallon and the money could could be allocated to another project. Another lawsuit can be filed on other issues.

This highway project was launched in a secret meeting of county commissioners and chamber of commerce leaders 25 years ago in violation of the Open Meetings Act and it's still not completely built.

John Hamm 3 years, 8 months ago

See Quivira Trail comment and consider that it would already have been built if the local politicians and developers hadn't already spent the money they thought they'd get for developing along it. It should have been built further South. People have said that for years but.........

Jeanette Kekahbah 3 years, 8 months ago

Keep seeking...and in the interim, do some thinking because 'idiots' don't~

Neomarxist123 3 years, 8 months ago

They do this nationwide. Just imagine how many jobs could be created if they would just stop filing endless lawsuits.

And stop clogging the courts. "No growth" should be thru the ballot box, not thru endless legal action.

scherman 3 years, 8 months ago

Incorrect, nothing begins as a farm. That would be called man made. Not man made. Get the facts straight:

"The Wakarusa (a.k.a. Haskell-Baker) Wetland is a remnant of the Wakarusa Bottoms, an area of approximately 18,000 acres of prairie wetland formed by the retreat of the first glacial epoch to reach into Kansas, between 300,000 and 600,000 years ago. For at least 10,000 years, this wetland was a special gathering place for the human inhabitants of this region. A substantial part of the wetland was briefly transformed into very marginal farmland, which flooded regularly. An ineffective dike and tile drainage system was finally completed by 1920. Haskell officials gave up on this expensive futile effort to tame the swamp about a decade later, during the dust bowl and depression era. Some land continued to be leased for stock grazing and haying. Some crops were again planted after Clinton Dam was constructed in the 1970s and before Baker's restoration of the wetland got fully under way. For an excellent account of wetland drainage efforts in this region, and the importance of wetlands in Native American cultures, see Wetlands of the American Midwest: A Historical Geography of Changing Attitudes, by Hugh Prince, University of Chicago, 1997. The primary "Haskell farm" was not in the wetland, but located much nearer the dorms and classrooms. The farm is important for its part in the child labor exploitation aspects of Haskell's early history. This wetland, on the other hand, is crucial to the larger story of how Indian students at the boarding schools resisted authorities determined to eradicate their cultures and languages." (savethewetlands.org, accessed April 22nd, 2011)

I suggest if anyone wants to speak on the subject they should probably quote the professionals before coming to personal conclusions based on little to no evidence.

By the way, paper comment above? You really think that is a good point? Laugh out loud. Wetlands are carbon storage sinks that are important to our ecosystem (Euliss Jr. et al, 2006). As we continue to see how our actions affect the environment, it is apparent that we must reduce our CO2 emissions while not reducing the environment's ability to natural recycle carbons.

I have lived here for 22 years, my entire life. The wetlands are an important environmental tool for our ecosystem here in Lawrence. They are priceless because they cannot be "re-built" the way that they are now. Our children should be able to see the wetlands as they are now, and not any less.

So, who benefits from the trafficway? Is it really Lawrence?

Works cited: Euliss Jr., N. H., R.A. Gleason, A. Olness, R.L. McDougal, H.R. Murkin, R.D. Robarts, R.A. Bourbonniere, B.G. Warner. "North American prairie wetlands are important nonforested land-based carbon storage sites." Science of the Total Environment, 2006: 179-188.

bethann 3 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for posting all this information.

richter3 3 years, 8 months ago

"Our children should be able to see the wetlands as they are now, and not any less."

Do people really take their children to look at swamps?

bethann 3 years, 8 months ago

Where I grew up, in Southern Louisiana, they do. I think swamps are beautiful.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe when she grows up and learns to by wholly cynical and mean-spirited, she'll be a troll just like you, posting little nuggets of triteness rather than thoughtful, fact-filled posts such as the one above.

hujiko 3 years, 8 months ago

"They are priceless because they cannot be "re-built" the way that they are now."

The wetlands that you have grown up around are anthropogenic, they would not exist without some form of human intervention. Your post touches on this, but doesn't tell the real story. When the Wakarusa was impounded in 1976, the annual spring flooding in the bottoms was cut off and the wetlands ceased being wet. It took the construction of levees and the pumping of lots of river water to 'restore' the wetlands to what you see today.

Now, the current size of the wetlands is around 300 acres. The road will take exactly 60 acres. As part of mitigation an additional 300 acres would be established as permanent wetland. How can increasing habitat size be a bad thing? Not to mention the decrease in traffic congestion, cars idling, and wear on city streets.

Sometimes I think the people trying to 'protect' and 'save' the wetlands are really just causing additional harm. I also doubt many of them know where the various OTHER wetlands in the county are located. Many of those wetlands are much better representations of riparian ecosystems and are further removed from human settlement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"The wetlands that you have grown up around are anthropogenic, they would not exist without some form of human intervention."

This is a very dishonest assessment. An honest assessment would be that the only thing that prevents the entire stretch along the Wakarusa from returning to a natural wetlands state (to the 17,000 acres that existed 150 years ago or so) all on their own is anthropogenic intervention.

"Now, the current size of the wetlands is around 300 acres. The road will take exactly 60 acres."

Yea, like taking 20% of these wetlands right smack down the middle is with ten lanes of pavement is insignificant (to you, anyway.)

"As part of mitigation an additional 300 acres would be established as permanent wetland."

This is wholly unrelated to the existing wetlands. If the state wants to add to the amount of restored wetlands, fine, but that's not in any way a "mitigation" of the destruction the existing wetlands.

"Not to mention the decrease in traffic congestion, cars idling, and wear on city streets."

Oh, puhleeze. Don't try to greenwash the destruction of the wetlands so that it can be made into a truckway. This highway will increase the ability to drive more, not decrease it. That's the history of roadbuilding from day one.

"I also doubt many of them know where the various OTHER wetlands in the county are located."

The main point is that they are Haskell's wetlands, and their cultural importance can't be replaced. But you want to shift the discussion away from that, because you want your 5 minutes of convenience, at Haskell's expense.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 8 months ago

How long can this be delayed? Isn't there a limit on the number of lawsuits that can be filed? Hasn't agnes the frog been gone long enough?

Uhjh 3 years, 8 months ago

Should have built it 20 years ago, then all of the damn tree huggers would have moved on to other trite causes. These are just wet lands and can be relocated with minimal impact on wildlife. I am sick and tired of a few good doers controlling a benefit for the majority.

Jeanette Kekahbah 3 years, 8 months ago

Wow, uhjh-ugliness, that's almost funny. Almost.

ksriver2010 3 years, 8 months ago

Scherman and the savethewetlands.org quote is incorrect logic. Using that argument would prevent any development in south Lawrence and anywhere along the existing highway 10 route from Clinton lake. The reality is that the greens and the savethewetlands.org people would not be interested in the Native American/Haskell point of view if it didn't line up with their cause.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Using your so-called argument, the fact that not everything can be preserved would mean that nothing can or should be preserved.

"the savethewetlands.org people would not be interested in the Native American/Haskell point of view if it didn't line up with their cause."

This is argument by assertion-- an assertion that crumbles rather quickly upon close inspection.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

The people driving up the cost are supporters of the trafficway. That's right they chose a known environmentally sensitive area. They have had more than one opportunity to choose a sensible route yet they refuse.

There are several choices.

K-10 and I-70 are connected as we speak. By way of the western leg and the Le Competon interchange.

If the Chamber of Commerce had chosen NOT to intervene against the original south of the river route it is likely this obsolete route would be in place today. Going forward is reckless management of OUR tax dollars.

"Judge Vratil also said the federal agency incorrectly estimated that the 32nd Street alignment would cost less than a route farther south." LJW

coderob 3 years, 8 months ago

In the meantime, let's clean up congestion on 23rd. I know people are concerned about low ridership, but getting a fast moving bus route that connects with the traffic lights would do a lot to bring down traffic accidents.

FarneyMac 3 years, 8 months ago

A fast-moving bus...with nobody on it...zipping back and forth on 23rd Street. What good does that do?

independant1 3 years, 8 months ago

How many decades, how many law suits?

Better headline. Wetlands cult strikes another blow.

My guess, the project will be done before Kansas wins another national title.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

"In November, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil said the federal agency incorrectly estimated that the 32nd Street alignment would cost less than a route farther south."

Why pay more for an obsolete design? = reckless economics. Why was the more expensive route chosen? Taxpayers cannot afford the most expensive choice....ever.

South of the river was the original plan long before the Chamber and developers decided to make a wrong decision to manipulate kdot. kdot should have remained with the original south of the river plan instead of choosing an environmentally and spiritually sensitive area.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

There was another route studied that has not been offered to the taxpayers which would avoid the wetlands completely.

This route would follow 46th(I believe) and could be built into the county road 1057 existing interchange. This could save a million or two and would NOT dump so much traffic in an already congested area near 1750 rd.

My question is why was this choice not made public?

Another choice were the "K-10 Connectors" that was not given the time of day. Why? This plan may well be the least expensive....who knows?

As I see it the obsolete SLT route:

  1. is too expensive

  2. is not the best choice

  3. dumps too much traffic in an already congested area

  4. destroys valuable flood control aka wetlands which saves taxpayers bundles of money

  5. destroys valuable wildlife habitat

  6. destroys an environmentally sensitive area

  7. destroys a spiritually sensitive area

  8. is not the original south of the river choice

  9. does not have the long term impact that the original choice provides

doc1 3 years, 8 months ago

Just build it. Think of all the gas it would save from stopped motorists just setting idle.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Not as much as would be saved if mindless automatons would get off their fat arses once in a while, and maybe move closer to where they work rather than living as far away as possible.

doc1 3 years, 8 months ago

Time for a magical oil slick to take out the wetlands for good.

BigPrune 3 years, 8 months ago

The Earth Nazis will lose in court yet again. The only people getting rich out of this farce are the enviro"mental" attorneys.

Doesn't Camp Gaea give these groups enough back to nature experiences?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" Big Yellow Taxi

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