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Environmental Groups' Efforts To Block I-69 Fail

Last updated on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Environmental activists have lost a battle in trying to stop the Indy-to-Evansville expansion of Interstate 69.

Environmental groups including the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads took INDOT, USDOT and other government entities to court, saying the I-69 extension would violate the Endangered Species Act, The Clean Water Act and the Department of Transportation Act.

However, Judge David Hamilton of the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis said no laws have been violated as of yet.

The environmental groups said the proposed route was, "arbitrary and capricious," in addition to the laws they say it violated.

Judge Hamilton said, though there are differences of opinion presented by the plaintiffs, and that he, in essence, doesn't rule out the possibility of environmental law being broken by the project as it moves forward, Hamilton says no laws have been broken yet.

The proposed route will branch off Interstate 465 in the Circle City and come down the same route as SR-37, by way of Martinsville, and then will branch around the west side of the City of Bloomington. From there, however, it will bypass Lawrence County, instead, forging a new, direct path from southern Monroe County, through Crane, Washington, Petersburg, and Oakland City, and terminating in Evansville.

Project officials say more environmental testing is currently underway.

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