Yesterday, HEC and our partners filed a complaint requesting that the federal court invalidate an Army Corps of Engineers permit issued for the I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis highway project.

The permit, required by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, authorized the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to destroy valuable natural resources by rerouting streams and filling in wetlands crossed by the highway.   The water and wetland impacts approved by this permit are located in Daviess and Greene counties, where the proposed highway would cross six streams and rivers, including Doan’s Creek, and the north and south forks of Prairie Creek.

The suit alleges that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers never conducted a thorough, independent, and objective review of the permit application or analyzed alternative routes before issuing the permit.  One of these alternatives, a route following U.S. 41 and I-70, would save Indiana taxpayers over a billion dollars and reduce the project’s destruction of wetlands, streams, forests and farmland by 60%.

Read the full complaint and please support our fight for Common Sense I-69 by clicking on the ‘Donate’ button.

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14 comments

  1. Seems to me that they always say there is a good reason to destroy the natural balance of plant life and bird migration , even the farmers. Leave well enough alone. I am sure there are other means if the truth be told. I do not agree with their plan.
    Thank You

  2. John46220 @ 2011-02-10 18:20

    I would be hard press to find a project more beneficial to our state than the I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis highway project.

    The delay – and it will only be a delay – the HEC is seeking in court for I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis highway project is ill-considered.

    The I-70/US 41 “alternative” promoted by the HEC will add countless tons of carbon to the Hoosier air compared to the more direct I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis route.

    As a life long environmental advocate, I am dismayed the HEC’s short sighted position. I hope other Hoosier environmentalists will counter the HEC with a call to quickly complete the I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis highway project.

  3. Steven@HEC @ 2011-02-10 19:20

    Anytime a state spends $3+ billion on a project, it will receive some benefit. The question is whether spending that money elsewhere would have more benefits with less environmental impact.

    Your assertion that new terrain I-69 will have less carbon emissions is not necessarily true for several reasons. The state has been forced to cut corners in order to save money, so the current design has much steeper grades than originally proposed. That means slower traffic burning more fuel. Also, the state is considering paving the highway with asphalt instead of concrete, which will also reduce vehicle fuel efficiency. Add to that the nearly 2,000 acres of forest that will be clear cut to make way for the road and we can all be assured that the air quality in Indiana will suffer.

    Regardless, this suit is far from just a delay tactic. If the state wants spend more than $3 billion of our limited transportation funds on a single project, all Hoosiers should want the assurance of knowing that our regulatory agencies are fulfilling their oversight responsibilities. These are the fights that have lasting impact.

  4. Thank You guys very much for filing this lawsuit. I have been active down here in Evansville trying to get this road stopped…

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2010/may/12/scrap-i-69-use-the-money-elsewhere/

    http://evansvillemovingforward.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-response-to-i-69-supporter.html

    http://evansvillemovingforward.blogspot.com/2010/10/in-response-to-c-anti-high-speed-rail.html

    Whatever you guys do, NEVER GIVE UP! I’m behind you 110% and we need to get some talk of building high speed rail going on down here. If you look at the map…

    http://www.in.gov/indot/files/MAIN-RR-08.PDF

    We already have a direct route to Indy and a route to Chicago that we could use the R-O-W for to build parallel tracks for high speed rail. END I-69!

  5. The Courier & Press just wrote another garbage pro-I69 editorial…

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/feb/13/interstate-69-the-issue-foes-move-to-block-our/

    Could you guys please respond.

  6. Steven@HEC @ 2011-02-14 20:20

    I’m not even sure where to start with an article like that. Setting aside the fact that the Muscatatuck and Wabash River projects are unrelated to I-69, the environmental record of this project continues to get worse. Just recently, INDOT announced that it was going to have to purchase flood easements over nearly 6,000 acres because of the increased flooding caused by I-69. And, last week, DNR found deadly White-nose syndrome in the endangered Indiana Bat population – much of its prime habitat will also be destroyed by I-69.

    This lawsuit is to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and force the Army Corps of Engineers to perform its oversight responsibilities. With more than $3 billion at stake, Hoosiers should be reassured that HEC is watching how their tax dollars are being spent.

  7. Ramon Turk Roman @ 2011-02-15 01:46

    The fact exists that “New Terrain” I-69 is not wanted by a major segment of the people is docu-
    mented. The fact is the cost is & will continue
    to be prohibitive. The economic impact will be
    more detrimenal to the cities along the I-70 and
    US-41 routes than it will be beneficial to the
    cities along the “New Terrain”. The alternate of
    I-70 and US-41 as the I-69 Highway will do no Nat-
    ural Resourse or Wetland damage. Not only will the
    Alternate route cost billions less to build, it wil cost less to service, maintain, patrol etc. Build-
    almost 150 miles of new highway will mean that not
    only do we have the afore mentioned expenses for the
    existing roadways but we will have the added costs
    forever.
    Let’ finally assume some financial responsibility
    and select the Alternate I-70/US-41 route for the
    I-69 Highway. Show some good Indiana “Common Sense”.

  8. Has INDOT officially decided to use inferior materials (such as asphalt instead of concrete) for this interstate?

    If so, how long will these materials last compared to the superior materials and how much will road construction/repairs cost the state?

  9. Steven@HEC @ 2011-02-22 15:33

    INDOT has announced that it will pursue various cost-cutting measures – delayed/cancelled overpasses and rest stops, narrowed shoulders and medians, steeper grades, and thinner surface materials. However, the project is “design/build” so the contractors do not have to provide the exact specifications of the road they will build before they are awarded a contract. For instance, the contractors have the ability to choose between asphalt and concrete, based on price, when it is time to surface the road. Without getting too specific, though, asphalt is less durable and will have higher maintenance costs over time – especially since much of the projected traffic will be heavy coal trucks.

  10. Mark Alderson @ 2011-02-27 19:35

    While I am not normally a person that would even agreew ith most of the viewpoints of the eenvironmentalists, this one I can back 100%. The new terrain over the old terrain only saves 5-10 miles. And the route goes right throough the biggest hills the state has. While the 70/41 option is mostly flat. And the new bypass 641 that is being built will cut out having to go through Terre Haute. I drive a truck, so let me tell you hills are not a semis friend. A fully loaded semi weighs 80,000 lbs. And coal trucks can weigh even more by law. (Well, I think so anyway, I know that is true for Kentucky and West Virgina.) Enough hills can reduce your trucks MPG by 1 to 1.5 MPG. That does not sound like much untill you know the AVERAGE MPG of a semi is 6 to 7 MPG, and that was before the government put the new emission controls that cut MPG down to below 6. The new terrain makes no sense environmentally and definately makes no sense fiscally.Thanks for working to stop this, good luck!!!

  11. You want to know something ironic…

    Those two areas that the Courier & Press brought up as areas that are being reforested from I-69′s damage, well….

    1. They are NOWHERE NEAR the proposed I-69
    http://www.in.gov/dnr/files/MuscatatuckRiverFacts.pdf (Page 2)

    http://www.in.gov/dnr/files/Wabash_Area_Flood_Plain_Map.pdf

    2. The Wabash River and Sugar Creek replanting is right next to…. you got it… the 41/I70 corridor… NOT the I-69 corridor.

    How they can claim this is being done to mitigate the environmental disaster I-69 will cause I will never know.

  12. Bennie Sexton @ 2011-03-08 15:57

    I live in Greene County. My house is located only 2400 feet from the current planned path for I-69. While I am not looking forward to the construction phase if I-69, I am looking forward to being able to use this new road. No one seems to be mentioning that the path for this road was also chosen to provide a MUCH needed economic boost to the areas through which it runs. For those of you who don’t want I-69… I think you should protest by refusing to drive on the new road… in fact, I think you should refuse to drive on all interstates until you get your way.

  13. Steven@HEC @ 2011-03-10 15:36

    HEC is not opposed to interstates – we recognize that personal automobile travel will be the norm for the foreseeable future. However, Indiana also has limited transportation dollars to spend, so we should spend them wisely. We can save a billion dollars by building along U.S. 41 / I-70 instead of the current route and use the savings to rebuild other roadways or invest in diversifying our transportation system with rail and transit. That will put us in a better position to absorb fluctuations in gas prices as well.

    As far as economic development is concerned, Greene and Daviess Counties are doing relatively well already. Knox, Sullivan, and Vigo Counties have lower incomes, higher unemployment, and more foreclosures. The alternative route would pump much needed investment into those struggling areas.

  14. Susan Green @ 2011-03-24 20:39

    Thank you, HEC and partners, for initiating this lawsuit. LAWMAKERS: once it’s gone, it’s GONE!! Remember that the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth. This living land already belongs to someone: its inhabitants. This little “money making project” is ill-conceived, destructive, and unworthy of usurping right of way. Moreover, this cheap job will cost generations of Hoosiers much more than we can afford to lose!

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