National Parks Group Condemns Congressional Earmark to Build Mega-bridge Over St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 1, 2012
Contact:   Alison Zemanski, Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association P: 202.454.3332; C: 202.384.8762


National Parks Group Condemns Congressional Earmark to Build Mega-bridge Over St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

Statement by Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey

“The U.S. House of Representatives, which claims to prohibit earmarks, has voted to earmark millions of dollars to build a massive new freeway bridge over the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. In an ignominious performance, Congress has done what it too frequently does these days—squander, bit by bit, the legacy we leave our children. This action harms the St Croix and puts at risk nearly 200 rivers across the nation, when more could have been done to protect them.  

“We are saddened that two states renowned for their history and legacy of foresight in protecting a tremendous natural bounty, which produced leaders who helped enact laws like the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that protected the St Croix, have now led the way in undercutting that law.  A replacement bridge is needed, but not this bridge. Not this way.

“At a time when national parks and other important programs face cuts, it is fiscally irresponsible to build such a massively scaled bridge that is more expensive than necessary. The proposed massive bridge will cost taxpayers $700 million and will be the most expensive bridge ever built in Minnesota’s history. It is unfortunate that mega-bridge proponents from both sides of the river were unwilling to seize.

“U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood offered to lead a fast-tracked process to develop a true compromise, and a better way forward but was rebuffed. We hope that House and Senate proponents of this bill, who argued so vehemently that this was an exception, will fight equally hard to protect other treasured places when the inevitable efforts arise to use this precedent to justify further deterioration in the legacy we leave our children.  And we hope those who were willing to spend so many taxpayer dollars on this bridge will be equally aggressive when it comes to investing in our national treasures that are in such dire need of additional funds.”

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