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Federal Court Halts All Construction At Yosemite National Pa

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Federal Court Halts All Construction At Yosemite National Pa

Postby ERIC » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:37 pm

Federal Court Halts All Construction At Yosemite National Park

March 28, 2008 11:08 p.m. EST
Nidhi Sharma - AHN News Writer

Fresno, CA (AHN) - Yosemite National Park is ordered to stop more than $100 million in planned construction projects because the developments could illegally ruin the park's sensitive ecosystem, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling required the National Park Service to halt t those repairs and others until September 2009. Yosemite National Park covers nearly 1,200 square miles of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada of central California.

The matter became complicated after the Yosemite flood of 1997, which caused massive damage to park infrastructure, including segments of Highway 140. The National Park Service started with emergency repairs that included widening the canyon road to accommodate larger vehicles.

In the process of repairs, the par officials blasted off 18,000 year old naturally formed rock walls including the filling in of the riparian river bank with rocks and concrete. As a result, the Sierra Club and Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government filed suit again the park officials in 1999 to stop the construction. The plaintiffs were led by a local organization called Friends of Yosemite Valley, which said the government's plans would lead to commercialization of the park and turn it into road for people driving recreational vehicles and visitors arriving in tour buses.

The appellate court said the park service failed to sufficiently address a key issue - what number of visitors would harm the federally protected river. Yosemite park spokesman Scott Gediman believed that the ruling could jeopardize about $200 million that Congress set aside for Yosemite after the floods of 1997. The 14 projects are part of a $441 million planned overhaul.
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