WAMU 88.5 : News

Environmentalists Say Replacing Virginia's Route 460 Will Destroy Wetlands

When larger ships start passing through a newly widened Panama Canal, Virginia is hoping to get more cargo at its deep Hampton Roads ports, and that cargo will travel by truck or train to other parts of the country. That's why VDOT says we need a new Route 460, but plans submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers show nearly 500 acres of wetlands along 55 miles or road would be lost.

"This is an enormous amount of loss," says Tripp Pollard, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. "Actually, this would be the largest single wetlands loss from any transportation project in Virginia since the Clean Water Acts was passed in 1972."

He says the acreage in question serves many natural functions. Wetlands are absolutely essential elements of ecological health and water quality. They provide habitat and help to prevent damage from storms and flooding.

Pollard doesn't buy VDOT's claim that the new road is really needed to accommodate more trucks.

"This is a very speculative rationale as to how much additional freight Virginia would ever see," he says. "We think there will be traffic, and we believe that is a far cheaper, far less destructive alternative."

The price tag for the project is $1.4 billion. SELC has asked the Army Corps to reject Virginia's application to destroy wetlands, and if that doesn't happen, the center says it will call on the Federal Highway Administration to pull the plug — something it has done with other projects that posed an environmental risk.

NPR

Hieronymus Bosch Died 500 Years Ago, But His Art Will Still Creep You Out

Known by some as "the Devil's painter," Bosch depicted imaginary animals and souls being violently tortured. At least one critic believes he's the father of modern art.
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With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the fat in milk chocolate by running it through an electric field. The result is healthier, but is it tastier?
WAMU 88.5

Analysis Of The Last Supreme Court Decisions Of The Term

Supreme Court decisions are expected soon on issues that include access to abortion and limits on executive power: Analysis of major decisions at the end of the term and the impact of a vacant seat on the court.

NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

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