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Letters to the Editor

SLT loophole

January 17, 2012

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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.

Comments

IdahoWinds 2 years, 3 months 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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kcwarpony 2 years, 3 months 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.

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IdahoWinds 2 years, 3 months 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!

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

Return the runoff back to farmland or a Casino to compete with Hollywood.

Craps would be a money maker for Larryville. Truckers would flood the place with fine ladies to blow on your dice.
(from a source)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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blue73harley 2 years, 3 months 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."

I would rather be on a new SLT with truck traffic than creeping along behind them on 31st daily. And I have called to complain to Gorman about the idiotic double-yellow they put down 31st between Haskell and La.

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Liberty275 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Andini 2 years, 3 months ago

If its built, where will the mosquitos go?

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hujiko 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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IdahoWinds 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Liberty_One 2 years, 3 months ago

Ain't government bureaucratic regulation grand? I'm so glad they won't improve the plans at all because it would mean a whole new set of regulations to comply with, that way it will be an even bigger waste of all our money. That government sure has it all worked out, doesn't it?

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Kyle Miller 2 years, 3 months ago

Who is this Mike guy that everyone is refering too?

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IdahoWinds 2 years, 3 months 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...

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Jean1183 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Chris Ogle 2 years, 3 months ago

What year was the SLT first proposed ???

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Jean1183 2 years, 3 months 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!

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rtwngr 2 years, 3 months 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.

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mustrun80 2 years, 3 months ago

Haha - Now libs think you're a 'bigot' if you are for road progress?

I keep thinking I can't be surprised by the lib worldview that everyone who disagrees with them on everything does so either because they are racist or a bigot.

Good work Michael. Really, deep thinking going on with this LTE.

Screw the white man, er and anyone who drives through/around lawrence, Save the 'wetlands' DUDE!!!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months 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

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streetman 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months 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:
IN DOLLARS PER SQUARE KILOMETER

$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.

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 3 months 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.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 3 months 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?

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Brock Masters 2 years, 3 months 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.

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Jean1183 2 years, 3 months ago

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

LOL @ RonHolzwarth!

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 3 months 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.

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