Lawsuit to Stop Southeast Connector Project Dismissed

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SPARKS, NV -- A lawsuit that could have stopped a $250,000,000 project couldn't hold water and has been dismissed, but it's not stopping a concerned citizen's coalition from getting what they want.

"We never broke the law, the corps of engineers never broke the law, we were following the law," Lee Gibson, RTC Executive Director, said.

The Upper South East Communities Coalition filed the lawsuit to stop the construction of the project altogether.

"It's not just the designated flood storage for the entire community; it's not just the already protected or degraded wetlands that are already out there and it's not just the methyl mercury problem, there are a whole host of issues and RTC has been very ambiguous about those concerns," Kimberly Rhodemeyre, a USECC representative, said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reviewed the research, all 700 pages worth, and found that RTC didn't violate any laws, which led the coalition to drop the suit.

"That meant we didn't intrude on the river, we didn't intrude on the drainage pattern, we didn't affect the hydrology and that that project in Phase I is not going to affect flooding," Gibson said.

It's not the end of the road for the coalition; it's now concentrating on Phase II, for which RTC is still waiting for a permit before breaking any ground.

"I don't think I want anything from RTC," Rhodemyre said. "What we want is for the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure they require RTC to provide an environmental impact statement and then we'll see how we go from there."

The Veterans Memorial Bridge will connect Sparks Blvd. to Veterans Parkway, which is set to finish in the spring of 2014, and RTC claims that it will only impact 11 acres of wetlands, while creating about 150 more.

"We've done biological studies; we've done hydrological studies," Gibson said. "Our construction of the road and the activities we're engaged in are going to better the wildlife, better the plant life and create a more diverse wetlands from a biological perspective than what's out there today."

So far, the project is on schedule and RTC is expecting to get a permit in December. The project is currently in its public comment period before phase two can be approved. You have until October 15 to voice your concerns.