Strip Mine or Highway? Tell the Federal Highway Administration to Take Another Look

  • by: Sierra Club
  • target: FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez
The controversial Coalfields Expressway, a proposed four-lane, $2.4 billion road project across the coalfield counties of Virginia is awaiting approval by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The "road" is actually a coal strip mine in disguise, burying streams and removing mountaintops across a route that is far from existing economic centers but designed to maximize the amount of coal they can mine.

FHWA's job is to insure that all significant impacts of the road are studied, and all reasonable alternatives are considered. Normally, there isn't much opposition to a major highway project, so if we flood their offices with thousands of comments, we will get their attention, and they will have to take action. They need to hear from you that mountaintop removal is a significant impact, and this "road" needs a closer look, not a rubber stamp.

Tell FHWA to look at all the impacts of the Coalfields Expressway. Don't let them use a highway to strip mine our mountains!
Dear Administrator Mendez,

I'd like to express my concerns about the Coalfield Expressway, Section II, road project proposed for Southwest Virginia. The Virginia Department of Transportation's Environmental Assessment for the road project fails to adequately disclose the project's significant environmental impacts, as well as ways to avoid those impacts. I also ask that VDOT and FHWA consider alternative methods of economic development fostering genuine quality of life for all be considered for the SW VA area.

I'm requesting that a new or supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) be completed to fully and accurately assess the potential impacts of this project -- including the connected coal mining operations, the project's impacts on forest and wildlife habitat, the impacts to area streams and wetlands and negative economic impacts for local communities bypassed by the planned route.

[Your comments will go here]

Sincerely,
[Your name]
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