Letters to the Editor

SLT loophole

January 17, 2012


To the editor:

KDOT dropped their SLT toll idea (“Toll Roadblock,” Jan. 12) like a hot potato. Their attorneys understood any change in traffic estimates would trigger a new environmental impact statement. Today that would eliminate every wetlands route. Like the controversial coal power plant in western Kansas, promoters of the wetlands SLT route managed to get their permit just ahead of tightened federal rules on noise levels for such places.

The engineer who did the sound study acknowledges defects, but KDOT’s attorneys argue it is sufficient to allow the project to go forward. Judge Vratil expressed strong “misgivings” but accepted defendant’s argument that it was not her place to determine whether these shortcomings were serious enough to invalidate the EIS.

NEPA standards were put in place explicitly to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. They are the heart of our nation’s protections against environmental injustices. Will the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturn this very shaky ruling? Indians have learned not to get their hopes up about a fair hearing in these matters from the federal courts. The litany of bad-faith decisions fills volumes of Indian case law.

If this lower court opinion stands, NEPA will have such a large loophole that you’ll be able to drive endless convoys of trucks through it. That would delight fools and bigots. The tea party hates NEPA. Most folks in Lawrence, however, would soon regret paving this sacred place supposedly for convenience only to discover the SLT is primarily infrastructure for interstate trucking.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

"Most folks in Lawrence, however, would soon regret paving this sacred place supposedly for convenience only to discover the SLT is primarily infrastructure for interstate trucking."

Good point!

23rd Street is much better suited for that purpose.

average 6 years ago

The highway surveys have shown repeatedly that there is basically no traffic on 23rd street who doesn't have a reason to be in Lawrence. And very little semi traffic on K-10 compared to any other 4-lane road with that many cars. Every trucking company routing program in the nation routes you from southern KC to Topeka up either 435 or K-7 to the turnpike. The companies would fire drivers whose logs consistently went through Lawrence, because it's slower, far more costly in fuel (stop-and-go), and more likely to have wrecks than staying on wide-open freeways.

asixbury 6 years ago

My husband travels as far as he can on the traffic way, but then has to finish traveling to KC on 23rd. It will save him loads of time on his commute.

But, I agree about what you said on the trucks. Unless they are traveling in Lawrence, there would be no reason to go down the SLT.

asixbury 6 years ago

That's what I meant...not enough coffee I guess :)

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

It would be interesting to read a response from someone who actually does drive a rig.

But, that hasn't happened yet.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

I am for anything that can reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage. The havoc that traffic accidents impose upon our society is simply far too high.

Saving time has importance, of course. But I read a long time ago that when new highways are built, traffic simply simply seems to rise to meet the capacity of the road. But, I have no clue how authoritative of a source that was.

Jean1183 6 years ago

No matter where it's built, someone will object. BUILD IT NOW!

LOL @ RonHolzwarth!

Brock Masters 6 years ago

The "tea party hates NEPA." Really, you felt it necessary to bring in the tea party to this issue? Any citations to back up your claim? If not, it casts doubt on your credibility.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Stand by for hundreds of posts by resident teabaggers to prove the point.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

This post pre-removed for using a vulgar sexual term to refer to a disappointed progressive.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

What about the first alleged victim of the trafficway, the northern crawfish frog? After 20+ years, has anyone yet seen Agnes T. Frog or any of her cousins anywhere south of Haskell?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Agnes eloped with Kermit the Frog.

It was a very quick and romantic ceremony in the wetlands, and you weren't invited.

FlintlockRifle 6 years ago

Dang it Agnes is gone??, last seen headed for warmer weather down in the Bahama's with rum and coke in hand, As you drive along 31, through the "wet land" look to both sides of the road, what do you see??, ducks, beaver, muskrat, right. So what is going to change, traffic will pick up, but these wet land critters will stay where they are, traffic will not bother them one bit.

Ben Bahe 6 years ago

maybe we should put your house 25 feet from the hiway.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Convenience for cars is a huge big government $200,000,000 - $300,000,000(millions) tax dollar item. Cars are tax dollar moochers and so are the real estate executives behind this pork barrel request.

Absolutely users should pay as this inadequate road design which certainly does not service the entire community. Not only that cars are getting where they need to be therefore the need has not been justified.

Not only does this area provide homes to a wide diversity of wildlife it is also has saved Douglas County and Lawrence,Kansas residents probably billions in flood control and potential property damage.

Why force taxpayers to pay millions upon millions upon millions to replace flood control that is not broken? This would a fiscally reckless use of tax dollars all for a pork barrel project.

This is flood control that has been tested for years and years and years and years which has never failed.

WETLANDS’ WORTH New study says wetlands worth billions nationwide in storm protection.

Total value of wetlands’ storm protection services:

$100,001-$5 million $10,001-$100,000 $1,001-$10,000 $1-$1,000

The value is determined with a formula that measures the value of the protected communities and the size of wetlands in the path of the potential storms.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years ago

Yes, I am certain the "wetlands" have spared Lawrence from devastating hurricanes.

streetman 6 years ago

Interesting how the spirits don't seem to have a problem when the tribe wants to build a casino on "sacred" land.

Blessed4x 6 years ago

Holy crud! You owe me a new keyboard. I just spilled coffee down mine. You win a cookie.


Richard Heckler 6 years ago

A casino has never been built in a wetlands that we know of...

Casino's make money whereas cars and roads never stop asking for big time tax dollars.

Cars and roads are a drain on tax dollar budgets and constantly require more and more and more and more and more and more big government tax dollar spending

rtwngr 6 years ago

It's only sacred in the same way the Indian holds all of the Earth sacred. There is nothing particularly special about that area. It was never a burial ground. It is not a cemetery where children from Haskell were buried. It was originally a wet land only in the sense that it was a flood plain. For years and years it was farmland and nobody gave a whit about that. Why don't you libs pack it in and give it up. All it is now is a runoff from 31st street that smells like a fricking sewer.

Jean1183 6 years ago

He's just upset that the KDOT attorneys were smart enough to know that any change to the SLT at this point would require a new EIS which if nothing else, would delay it even longer! Build it. It should have been built over 20 years ago!

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

As of March 1995 KDOT spent more than $12 million for land.....

KDOT spent $81,192 to relocate two families

Things like Yankee Tank people receiving $26,136 an acre

Stultz family receiiving $ 59,000 an acre

Some receiving: $40,000 per acre $29,000 per acre WAUK-A-Way Farm $76,000 an acre = $2,607,500

Pay Less Cashways $211,250 per acre

Some walking away with hundreds of thousands of dollars and some with millions courtesy of KDOT and your tax dollars.

Do you taxpayers want to further promote this reckless spending? It's still out there to be done no question about it. Meanwhile we starve public education.

Chris Ogle 6 years ago

What year was the SLT first proposed ???

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Sometime in the sixties, and it was intended to go south of the river.

It was only in the eighties when movers and shakers met in secret with the county commissioners in their hire and decided to go through Haskell Wetlands because it was better for their real estate investments.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

"Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)" http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

1971 the Kansas State Highway Commission recommended a BYPASS for Lawrence that would be built south of the Wakarusa River with zero impact on the Wetlands.

Building a trafficway instead of a bypass costs way more money and does not address the long term needs.

Building a traffic way close to the city limits smells of corruption and obvious tax dollar profits for real estate profiteers. So I have been told property all along the trafficway route was bought up by local real estate executives who will walk away with millions of tax dollars by way of KDOT purchase of their properties so speculation says.

Absolutely users should pay as this inadequate road design certainly does not service the entire community = don't build it. Not only that cars are getting where they need to be therefore the need has not been justified.

Jean1183 6 years ago

"So I have been told property all along the trafficway route was bought up by local real estate executives who will walk away with millions of tax dollars by way of KDOT purchase of their properties so speculation says."

Ha, ha, ha! Merrill, please provide us with a list of these local real estate executives who will profit from the COMPLETION of the SLT.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years ago

Don't confuse Merrill with facts.

IdahoWinds 6 years ago

Let's give BOZO his space to rant and rave. He is a good spin doctor and should be allowed to practice his trade. Mike hardly ever makes a statement that can be supported....but that is why most LTE sections are entitled "Opinions". The facts are that there was never anything wrong with the KDOT noise study and EPA hasn't changed the statutes on noise allowances. It just makes a good "sounding" case for Bozo to state. They (Bob Eye and company) get their day in court on Thursday - then it's over. It is not a "travesty of justice" or "another whiteman's injustice to Indians" that Mike would like us to believe it is a matter of poor attorney skills. They did not even attack NEPA in their lawsuit, they attacked the cost of building the road south of the river. Their case was dead before it was read in court. The real irony to this whole issue is that once the road and the mitigation is completed the wetlands will be much better off on both sides of the road. Interesting that it doesn't fit Mike's agenda that Indians really aren't getting screwed here, he really just wants a soap box. Let him rant...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Oh, get over yourself. You want pavement, and you want it at Haskell's expense. Your long-winded rationalizations are nothing more than a fig-leaf intended to cover your contempt for anyone who might challenge edicts from on high from the movers and shakers you serve.

IdahoWinds 6 years ago

...and I am supposed to get over myself? You are the one who keeps saying "build it south of the river". How is that even an option? Do you seriously think that KDOT would EVER revisit this if it is not completed on 32nd? As much as it pains you to hear - I serve no one in this issue, especially not any movers and shakers!!! The fact that you think there are movers and shakers that are influencing this project indicates your obsession with conspiracies that aren't there. I am also tired of your cliche "it will be built at Haskell's expense". This simply is not true. It is a myth that you continue to swill among the heads of young, impressionable students - Haskell and KU. You should indeed not get over yourself but be proud of your ability to influence gullible people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"I serve no one in this issue, especially not any movers and shakers!!!"

Of course you do-- even if you don't intend to.

Kyle Miller 6 years ago

Who is this Mike guy that everyone is refering too?

IdahoWinds 6 years ago

He's the author of the letter - why are you even on this blog????

Kyle Miller 6 years ago

I was simply asking a question. You don't have to get all bent out of shape over it!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Gosh, you must have shipped in the straw by the trainload for that straw man.

IdahoWinds 6 years ago

What in the world are you carping about? Because KDOT concluded that making the SLT a toll road wouldn't work this somehow "means a whole new set of regulations to comply with, that way it will be an even bigger waste of all our money." This seems to be even more clueless (if that's possible) than Mike Caron and Merrill.

hujiko 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

hujiko 6 years ago

And no, Bozo - you may not insert your addendum.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

South of the river (don't need your permission.)

George_Braziller 6 years ago

Ah yes. The tired mosquito-swamp comment. Have you ever been there?

Obviously not.

Mike Ford 6 years ago

yesterday a Kickapoo co-worker of mine mentioned how soon this upcoming ruling was and I thought to myself.....man some of these proponents talk as if they've already greased the legal system...why not? THEY DID IT to get the land in question. Watching the AMC series "Hell on Wheels" gives one an updated view on how politicians, railroads and churches worked together to steal lands and speculate on them for pure greed and exploitation. Not much has changed except for the word rail from the equasion. It's sad that many in the current populace are as willfilly ignorant as those in the past. Maybe it has something to do with the conservative approach to intelligence in this state of the lack thereof. Staying the same and putting one's head in the ground... who benefits???

I told this same co worker that the eventual desecretion of bones will cause the project to be walked away from. Some races have no respect for others until they're publically embarrassed by their actions. They don't have the common sense to avoid said actions in the first place. Conquer, Conquer, Conquer, is all they've known since arriving here. The Washington Deptartment of Transportation found out the hard way when they didn't listen to the concerns of tribal members from the Lower Elwha Klallam Nation of Washington State and went ahead with a project that desecrated 400 graves on the shores of the Puget Sound. I guess walking away from a project with $43 million involved and paying $6 million to the tribe and donating 6 acres of land for repatriation made WADOT pay attention. The same can't be said for the state of kansas or it's supposed civlized populace.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

We are very civilized here. We named our state after the Kansa Indians, and then we chased them all away to Oklahoma so that we wouldn't be bothering them anymore.




Liberty275 6 years ago

"Most folks in Lawrence, however, would soon regret paving this sacred place"

LOL. Lawrence has a sacred mudhole. This is such a dumpy little backwater town.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Kind of interesting that a link to one of the JW's own stories is being blocked.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

No conspiracy involved. I tried to post a link that admin apparently doesn't want posted.

Alex Parker 6 years ago

Sometimes our system won't allow links to be posted. Try using a bit.ly link.

IdahoWinds 6 years ago

Attorneys Bob Eye and David Praeger have had their 15 minutes of fame in the US District Court of Appeals in Denver this morning and all that is left is the 6 months wait to hear the final verdict. Then we can expect more kicking and screaming but we will finally know that that is all it is - screams of injustice, threats of bones appearing from where they aren't - but at least we know the road will finally be completed. We can hope that the opponents never drive on it!

kcwarpony 6 years ago

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit will hear the Prairie Band Pottawatomi Nation, et al., Appellants v. Federal Highway Administration on Thursday, January 19, 2012, in courtroom I with Judges Lucero, Seymour, and Tymkovich.

IdahoWinds 6 years ago

Duly noted - my mistake. By the end of the day it will be over. Too busy counting my chickens, I guess?

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