IBJNews

Environmental groups sue to block I-69 construction

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping construction of the Interstate 69 extension in southern Indiana, claiming the project violates federal environmental laws.

Landowners affected by the I-69 project, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads and the I-69 Accountability Project filed the suit in federal court in Indianapolis on Monday, a week after federal highway officials signed off on the final environmental review for the stretch from the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center to Bloomington.

The groups contend that the highway project threatens the endangered Indiana bat and violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

A spokesman for Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads said the group believes the state highway department underestimated in its count of nearly 1,500 geologic features such as sinkholes, caves and springs in the path of the latest approved section.

"I-69 should never have been routed through this extremely environmentally sensitive area," Thomas Tokarski said.

Indiana Department of Transportation spokeswoman Cher Elliott told The Herald-Times of Bloomington that the agency has "followed all state and federal guidelines" regarding the project.

Construction began in 2009 near Evansville on the first section of the planned 142-mile route between that city and Indianapolis. The project has been estimated to cost about $3 billion to complete.

In February, the Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads filed a lawsuit claiming the Army Corps of Engineers violated federal law by giving the state permission to fill wetlands and reroute streams along the I-69 route in Greene and Daviess counties.

That lawsuit, which is still pending in federal court, asked that the highway be rerouted to a less environmentally disruptive route along existing highways, U.S. 41 and Interstate 70.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • i 69
    Would you people stop complaining...
  • Wrong Problem
    Tom, your reasoning presents either a mode issue or a location issue. If so many people in bloomington need to get to Indy, or Indy to Bloomington or Indy to Evansville or whatever, then maybe they should live in these places instead of having me pay for their commute or perhaps we would be better served by a higher occupancy vehicle to transport them from place to place.
  • Me
    This is a Washington DC environmental firm that has limited local support. Don't get catch up in the language.
  • SIGH
    As I pointed out to the misguided citizens of Bloomington, I-69 is needed now, just as the previous project that widened SR 37 from Indianapolis to Bloomington was needed. Order of magnitude improvement in travel time. the US-41/I-70 routing INCREASES travel time over the more direct route. I checked the SR 37 routes Indy to Bloomington, and discovered that Old SR 37 is actually a bit shorter, but takes over twice as long! The same will happen with I-69 from Evansville to Indy - via US41/I-70 will take LONGER than I-69 via Bloomington. In this case, the two routes would be otherwise equal, but via Bloomington will be shorter, and hence quicker, than via Terre Haute. And everyone's already signed off on it - EPA included. So, give it up, already!
  • NAFTA
    The Highway from Mexico to Canada is to help the free trade between Canada, the US, and Mexico. So far I am wondering how anyone has been helped by NAFTA.
  • Pay Attention
    These environmental concerns were raised very early in the process, but officials were determined to disregard what grassroots people had to say and do as they darn well pleased. So here we are, many years later and many dollars spent later, and these same issues are still being raised. Let there be a lesson here: Behaving like a bully by failing to truly listen and thoughtfully address people's concerns means that time and money end up being wasted.
  • Sunk Cost
    Jeff, I have to agree with Joe. Spending $3 Billion so that we don't waste $10 Million is a fallacy of Sunk Cost logic.
  • Misguided
    Jeff, Citing money spent as a reason to continue spending money is a terrible reasoning. The US government obviously invested a lot of money in things, yet we just spent months and many news stories arguing how they should reduce spending and cut programs. Because you dug a hole doesn't mean you need to dig deeper to justify it.
  • Wrong Direction
    No, you cannot sue for ingnorant fiscal policy. The wheels to construct I-69 from Indy to E'ville was started under Bayh and continued under O'Bannon, Kernan and Daniels. Support for this interstate was bi-partisan and part of an overall Federal plan to extend the interstate from Canada to Mexico. To waste all the money spent on studies from the late 90s to date would be a total travesty and complete waste of taxpayer money. Now, that investment and work is paying for persons who would otherwise be unemployed or under-employed.
  • Wrong Direction
    Can we sue for ignorant fiscal policy?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

ADVERTISEMENT