Judge Rebuffs Legal Challenge To I-69

A judge has ruled that the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers did not violate federal law.

A judge ruled Tuesday against a group trying to stop the construction of Interstate 69. But U.S. District Court Judge Larry McKinney’s order said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not violate federal law when it allowed the Indiana Department of Transportation to fill in wetlands and reroute streams.

The Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads or CARR brought the suit, saying the state was causing irreparable harm to the environment.

But U.S. District Court Judge Larry McKinney’s order said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and INDOT stayed within their legal bounds when dealing with streams and wetlands along the proposed route.

CARR President Tom Tokarski says even with the ruling, he is not giving up.

“Of course we were disappointed in his ruling but we are going to continue but we’re going to continue forward,” he says. “There are many obstacles in the path of this highway yet. INDOT wants to make it seem like it’s a done deal, but they’re hiding a lot of things.”

CARR has one other case pending in federal court.  And Tokarski says he expects some landowners to file their own cases in opposition to how the state has used eminent domain to collect land.

INDOT spokesperson Will Wingfield says his department has done its work carefully according to the law and is pleased with the judge’s decision.

Dan Goldblatt contributed to this report.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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