反對開路未落實環評 美國山巒協會上告聯邦 | 環境資訊中心

反對開路未落實環評 美國山巒協會上告聯邦

2009年03月13日
摘譯自2009年3月10日ENS美國,德州,休士頓報導;潘忠廷編譯;莫聞審校

雪鵝飛越凱蒂草原一景;圖片來源:Kelly Williamson美國山巒協會(Sierra Club)3月9日晚間針對美國聯邦公路局西哈里斯郡大公園路E段(Grand Parkway Segment E)環境評估案,向休斯頓聯邦地方法院提出訴訟。

山巒協會休斯頓分會及州分會空氣品質主席曼奇指出:「為促進大公園地方發展,聯邦高速公路管理局快速簽署此份幾乎無環境評估的報告書,忽視對凱蒂草原(Katy Prairie)及休斯頓空氣品質的可能影響,亦未尋求更好的替代方案。過去25年來山巒協會致力保育凱帝草原,為大公園路E段道路開發尋求替代方案。我們現在身陷進退兩難的情況,提出訴訟情非得以,打官司耗錢耗時更耗費資源,但實在是最後手段。提出的訴訟源於我們對凱帝草原保育的重視以及該方案可能造成的環境破壞。」

凱帝草原含有孕育數千隻鵝、鴨、蒼鷺、白鷺、鳴禽及其他野生動物的農田溼地、凹窪地貌溼地(depressional wetlands)、河道與沿海草原棲地。山巒協會同時也發現草原像個巨大的防洪海綿塊,吸收並防止洪水對下游水牛河區 (Buffalo Bayou)造成破壞。

然而3月3日德州運輸部(Texas Department of Transportation)利用聯邦經濟振興基金中的10億8千1百萬元投資包含此大公園路E段道路開發等方案。本項決定受到爭議,部分是因為決議尚未全數通過如工兵處(U.S Army Corps of Engineers)的環境協議。

部份團體質疑大公園路利用聯邦經濟振興基金來建設收費道路。山巒協會指出大公園路已有替代方案可以舒緩此活動區域內的塞車情況。

Texas Sierra Club Sues Feds to Safeguard Katy Prairie
HOUSTON, Texas, March 10, 2009 (ENS) -

The Sierra Club late Monday filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Houston against the Federal Highway Administration over the environmental impacts of the proposed Grand Parkway Segment E in western Harris County.

"In the rush to push Segment E of the Grand Parkway for the benefit of real estate developers, the Federal Highway Administration conducted a weak environmental review that ignores the project's harm to the Katy Prairie, its potential impact on Houston air quality, and better transportation alternatives. The Sierra Club, over the past 25 years, has worked to protect the Katy Prairie and implement transportation alternatives to the proposed Grand Parkway, Segment E. We are now at a point where we did not want to be.

Filing a lawsuit is a serious undertaking which requires money, time, and other resources. It is a strategy of last resort, not first resort. It is because the Sierra Club feels so strongly about protection of the Katy Prairie and the harmful effects the proposed Grand Parkway Segment E will have on the Katy Prairie, that we have filed this lawsuit," said Brandt Mannchen, air quality chair for the state chapter and Houston group of the Sierra Club.

The Katy Prairie includes agricultural wetlands, depressional wetlands, creek corridors, and coastal grasslands inhabited by hundreds of thousands of geese, ducks, herons, egrets, songbirds, and other wildlife.

The Sierra Club notes that the prairie is also a giant sponge that soaks up flood waters and keeps them from flooding down Buffalo Bayou, causing havoc downstream.

Nevertheless, last week the Texas Department of Transportation included the Grand Parkway Segment E in a list of projects to be funded in part with $181 million out of federal economic stimulus funds. That decision has generated controversy, in part because the project has not secured all the necessary permits to proceed, including a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers environmental permit.

Some groups question the use of federal stimulus money to construct a toll road, which is what the Grand Parkway is slated to be. The Sierra Club says there are proven transportation alternatives to the proposed Grand Parkway Segment E that will reduce traffic congestion where people live, work, and play.