Was it because they thought they could have the most desirable land for development and then later bully all those people and agencies who signed the agreement in good faith?
Concerning the assertion that the roadway might actually “help the tortoise population,” I offer these four points:
• A freeway could not “promote more biological diversity if it included culverts.” How patently absurd! Rather than free access to half the reserve, as is now the case, a tortoise would have to find the occasional culvert and brave the noise, confinement and smell in order to cross over.
• “A satellite preserve could be established to replace lost habitat.” This has already been done! 300,000 acres for development and only 44,000 acres for tortoises! Now you want to take that too? Every time these animals are moved a very high percentage of them dies.
• “Increase surveillance” with the new road? Land managers aren’t going to increase current surveillance while traveling 75 or 80 mph on a freeway!
• “Utilize the road as a firebreak.” If anything, the freeway would vastly increase the risk of fire because of tossed cigarettes, back-fires from trucks, etc.
Which brings us to the “inevitability” of 400,000 to 600,000 people living in the Washington County area. This is the hype of developers and their supporters. There is precedence in our country of communities deciding not to allow unlimited growth. Boulder, Colorado, is an excellent example. They purposefully lowered their growth rate from 6 percennt annually (1950-1970) to 1 percent annually (1995 to present). Their growth has stayed at that level while job growth has exceeded population growth!
Read the book, Better Not Bigger, by Eben Fodor for a careful description of how growth can be and has been controlled in communities across America.
Do we want the problems of a Las Vegas: horrible air pollution, dependence on a single water source, steadily increasing crime, crowds everywhere, very little room for wildlife and natural beauty?
To build the Northern Corridor highway would be giving up our quality of life to the people who want to make millions of dollars off this beautiful and irreplaceable land. Say no, express your opinion to the BLM (at firstname.lastname@example.org), vote for Alternative C, before Thursday’s deadline for comments.
Steve Eberhard is a resident of Toquerville