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McCollum Calls on Senators to Oppose Stillwater Mega-Bridge Prior to Hearing in U.S. Senate

July 27, 2011
Press Release

Contact: Maria Reppas, (202) 225-6631 / (202) 527-0149

S. 1134 would exempt $700 million "mega-bridge" over St. Croix River from federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

Washington, DC – In a letter to Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-MN) expressed her opposition to pending legislation that would allow a $700 million freeway-style bridge to be built over the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, July 28th to take testimony on the St. Croix River Crossing Project Authorization Act (S. 1134), which exempts the proposed $700 million St. Croix Bridge from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. McCollum's letter cites her concerns about the excessive cost of the bridge S. 1134 would allow to be built and the legislation's negative impact on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Congresswoman McCollum wrote, "A new bridge is needed to replace the obsolete lift bridge in Stillwater, Minnesota. However, more fiscally and environmentally responsible design alternatives are available." She cites that construction of the proposed "mega-bridge" with a $700 million price tag would be 250 percent more expensive than the most expensive bridge ever built in Minnesota.

McCollum warned that exempting this bridge design from the national Wild and Scenic Rivers Act would fundamentally weaken a critical federal environmental law. "Because the proposed St. Croix Bridge design is so intrusive, passage of either bill would set a dangerously low standard for exclusions to Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protections that threatens every mile of every protected river in this national system," wrote Congresswoman McCollum.

McCollum urged Senators to oppose S. 1134 and said the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act " the last protection for taxpayers against an irresponsible and over-sized boondoggle."

Congresswoman Betty McCollum serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.