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E-M:/ US 31 bypass

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

There is an article today in the Detroit News about
a controversial US 31 bypass in Ottawa County.   See


Apparently several area farmers are adversely affected.

Perhaps it is time to see if those rural Ottawa County 
Republican farmers are interested in using the Clean 
Air Act to deal with John Engler's rogue superhighway 
proposals....  See below....

This decision doesn't directly affect Michigan, but elements
of the decision could probably be used to apply to 
the US 31 project by its opponents....


----------------------------Original message----------------------------
     In a decision that halts funding for dozens of polluting
highway projects in several metropolitan areas, the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that current Federal
regulations for approving highway construction violate the Clean
Air Act. The Court ruled for EDF on all issues, striking down
Environmental Protection Agency regulations that allowed funding
of planned highways in areas where transportation plans do not
conform to state air-pollution control plans.

[PHOTO: Georgia officials must take steps to curb Atlanta's air
pollution before funding new highways.]

The Court also overturned an EPA rule that encouraged construction
of roads with non-Federal funds to evade Clean Air Act
accountability. Finally, the Court ruled that disapproved and
inadequate state air-pollution plans cannot be used as the
benchmark for approving new transportation plans.

"This Court ruling protects the public from highway projects that
would add more pollution in areas that already violate national air
quality standards," said Michael Replogle, EDF Federal
transportation director. "It will make it easier for local
officials to fund non-highway alternatives that will improve air
quality, protect public health, and expand travel options."

The Clean Air Act requires cities with harmful pollution levels to
adopt 20-year transportation plans that will achieve the limits on
motor vehicle emissions shown in their state air-pollution control
plan. The new ruling means that many previously approved road
projects cannot be funded until cities revise their plans to ensure
that motor vehicle emissions will not worsen an area's air

Added Replogle, "This ruling will encourage transportation agencies
to avoid the mistakes of Atlanta, where officials illegally
approved more than $700 million in road projects after it was known
that the projects would add to excess pollution levels. Atlanta
must revise its transportation plan to cut air pollution before
spending more on highway projects. This is an opportunity to shift
funds into transportation projects that will reduce pollution,
boost low-income workers' access to jobs, and reduce the harms
caused by major highways that traverse older communities."

The ruling directly affects road construction within the D.C.
Circuit Court's jurisdiction, including projects in Atlanta and the
North Carolina metropolitan areas of Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, and
Winston-Salem. In the longer run, the ruling will encourage
authorities in all polluted metropolitan areas to draw up
transportation plans that will achieve Clean Air Act requirements.

"When Congress enacted these Clean Air Act provisions in 1990,"
said Robert E. Yuhnke, EDF's attorney in the case, "it sought to
insure that billions of dollars in Federal transportation funding
would not worsen air pollution at the same time that other
government agencies were requiring emission reductions to protect
public health. This ruling helps assure that transportation
investments will be part of the solution in seriously polluted
metropolitan areas, not part of the problem."

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  ajs@sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste Issues
and Community Environmental Protection

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(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)

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