NW Current -District Should
Start Klingle Road Project
July 28, 2005
The Northwest Current
July 27, 2005 Article on Klingle Road DEIS Hearing
The July 27, 2005
article on the Klingle Road Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the legal boundaries
within which the DEIS was prepared. The article does not mention the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), much less offer an
explanation of its basic principles.
In 2003, the DC Council
passed the Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Support Act of 2003 which mandates
that Klingle Road be re-opened to motor vehicle traffic. The Act was
signed into law by the Mayor.
Because it is
contributing funds for rebuilding the road as mandated by the Budget
Support Act, NEPA requires the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
to prepare a detailed statement of the environmental impact of that
action. While the statement must discuss alternatives to the proposed
action, it is well settled, under years of NEPA litigation, that NEPA
does not require government agencies to consider alternatives that do
not achieve the purpose of the proposed action.
FHWA, in coordination
with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) and
in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), has met its
obligation to prepare a detailed environmental impact statement that
includes a preferred alternative of restoring the road to its original
two-lane configuration. It also includes lesser, one-lane, alternative
configurations. Alternative C, the preferred alternative, not only
provides a safe and effective two-lane road for cross-town travel, it is
the least-costly alternative, and provides more environmental benefits
to Rock Creek Park land within NPS jurisdiction than the other
alternative road configurations.
At the July 21, 2005
public hearing, misguided opponents of reopening the road attacked the
DEIS for not fulfilling a fantasy that DEIS preparation by federal
agencies and DDOT would usurp District of Columbia Home Rule by
overriding the Budget Support Acts mandate to re-open Klingle Road.
Heckling of that sort is misplaced. There is simply no basis under
NEPA to argue that the DEIS should have included non-road alternatives,
like the hike-bike trails rejected by the Budget Support Act.
The article reports
Council Member Schwartzs statement that Klingle Road is a vital
east-west passage that should have been completed yesterday. FHWA, DDOT
and the NPS, should take heed, approve the DEIS preferred Alternative C,
and let the long delayed rebuilding of Klingle Road begin.
William H. Carroll
North Cleveland Park