Group Wins Public Health Benefits in ICC Suit Settlement

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Michael Replogle, 301-529-0351-c, mreplogle@edf.org
Sean Crowley, 202-572-3331, scrowley@edf.org

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Group Wins Public Health Benefits in ICC Suit Settlement

Maryland Agrees to Invest in New Pollution Controls, Monitoring

WASHINGTON - Maryland
has settled a suit filed by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) over the
controversial Intercounty Connector (ICC) by agreeing to vital public
health benefits to offset the impacts of air pollution generated by the
highway. 

EDF's
suit alleged that state and federal agencies violated the Clean Air Act
and other federal laws when they approved the ICC, a multi-billion
dollar, six-lane, 18-mile toll highway connecting I-95 and US-1 in
Prince George's County with I-270/I-370 in Montgomery County. 
 
As part of the settlement, the Maryland State Highway Administration agreed to invest a total of $2 million to:

  1. Reduce air pollution from school buses in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
  2. Install
    new monitoring equipment that will provide new insight into how fine
    soot pollution from traffic affects public health for those living,
    working, or attending schools near major highways in the Washington, DC
    region.

As
its part of the settlement, EDF agreed to withdraw its appeal of a
September 2007 federal district court ruling that upheld federal
approval of the ICC. 

"This settlement will help offset some of the adverse effects of the ICC on public health," said Dr.
John Balbus, EDF's Chief Health Scientist and a member of the
Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee for the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
.
"It also will provide important data on levels of fine particulate air
pollution near high traffic volume roads like I-95. This pollution
contributes to premature death, respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart
disease in children and adults who live, work, or go to schools near
major highways."
 

"We
hope this settlement will persuade the state in the future to consider
more cost-effective transportation investments that would better
relieve traffic congestion, not to build highways like the ICC that
negatively impact public health, streams, parks, global warming, and
nearby communities," said Michael
Replogle, EDF's Transportation Director, a former consultant for the
U.S. Federal Highway Administration and former transportation
coordinator for Montgomery County
.  
"Although the state has only begun construction, cost overruns for the
ICC are foreclosing important transportation investments across
Maryland and already have forced delays in parts of the ICC project
itself."
 

"The
ICC remains an imprudent investment choice that, if completed, will
promote sprawl and global warming pollution," concluded Replogle. "If
the ICC construction continues, it also will offset many of the
positive initiatives the state is taking to address climate change and
to counter degradation of the Chesapeake Bay and the Anacostia
watershed."
 

More information on the impacts of the ICC can be found at: http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?ContentID=4220

 

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Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org.

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