American Rivers: Bridge Proposed for St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Imperils 'Wild and Scenic River'

Efforts to gain approval for a four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River not only represent a significant threat to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, but if successful would set a dangerous precedent for Wild and Scenic rivers nationwide, according to a national rivers advocacy group.

At issue is a new bridge across the St. Croix River that divides Minnesota and Wisconsin, one that is expected to cost at least $700 million to build, and which would require an exemption to the Wild & Scenic River Act as that section of the scenic riverway is covered by that act.

Last fall the National Park Service, after considering the project for a fourth time, refused to permit the new bridge, holding that it would present direct and adverse impacts to the river that could not be "avoided or eliminated."

But U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican representing Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, has been pushing legislation in Congress to, in effect, overrule that Park Service decision. Her legislation would dictate that the proposed bridge is "consistent with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act."

American Rivers, in its annual Most Endangered Rivers list, today said that effort "would undermine the values that make the river a regional and national treasure – and set a dangerous precedent for other Wild and Scenic Rivers nationwide."

While the group doesn't deny there's a need for a new bridge over the river, it believes that "(A)lternative designs with less impact on the river and lower costs should be evaluated..."

Comments

I really enjoy your blogging and reading all of these informative posts.

Why would they over-rule the national park? Not a good precedent.

If this is about replacing the existing I-94 thoroughfare then I might be persuaded to alter my view but if this is just another river crossing up or downstream from the highway bridge then crap-can the idea now before we waste any more taxpayer dollars. The populace in this area isn't sufficient to warrant additional crossings. If, on the other hand, replacement of the current, miserable structure is the issue then it MUST be made to limit or be completely in compliance with the environmental impact studies pertinent to this highly sensitive area. There are few, if any, waterways remaining in this nation that are as pristine as the Upper Croix. To trash this resource in the name of "progress" would not just be a travesty, it would demonstrate sufficiently man's inability to coexist within any limits in any environment.

Michelle Bachman -- Tea Party darling.

"Don't spend taxpayer dollars on anything other than my pet projects."