20 November 2009

Route 66 Endangered by Progress Again

The Cultural Landscape Foundation alerted readers to yet another threat to Route 66. You can follow the link to the entire article but here are some excerpts - If this part of the natural world is something you care passionately about, there is contact information at the end for your emails and letters.

Route 66 Threatened by Proposed Biodiesel Facility
By Debra Martin
Published November 11, 2009

Running more than 2,000 miles, between Chicago and Los Angeles, historic Route 66 attracts tourists and car enthusiasts from all over the world.

....Today, in a rush to make Mohave County, Arizona the renewable energy capital of the United States, the local government has put several green economy projects on the fast track, including the construction of a biodiesel facility on a pristine stretch of historic Route 66.

....Called The Mother Road in John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath, Route 66 became a lifeline to a perceived better life.

Today, Route 66 organizations operate in several states and followers of Route 66 Americana exist throughout the world. The road continues to offer travelers a slower trip than the modern highway and many of the views and vistas that made it famous.

Last month, the Mohave County Commissioners voted in favor of moving ahead with the project, despite overwhelming opposition from residents and national organizations, including 801 petition signatures representing the majority of stakeholder residents, dozens of letters, and 68 speeches given by residents who will be most affected by the project.

With Route 66’s status as an international destination and with its listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the citizens of Valle Vista and surrounding communities northeast of Kingman, Arizona, are trying to find a way to save Route 66 from construction by Sun West Biofuels, LLC.

The precedence that construction of a manufacturing plant would establish for additional heavy manufacturing along the highway is worrisome to residents. The 20-mile stretch of Route 66 that serves as the sole transportation route for these affected communities is very scenic, yet has not been designated as a “scenic route” in the most recent General Plan for Mohave County.

Members of the community have actively participated in letter writing and petition campaigns with the hope of influencing their Commissioners and Board of Supervisors, and are currently raising funds for legal counsel. Individuals are encouraged to write letters of opposition to the biodiesel plant location on historic Route 66 to the following officials:
Mohave County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Gary Watson, District 1
700 W. Beale Street
Kingman, AZ 86401
gary.watson@co.mohave.az.us

Mohave County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Tom Stockwell, District 2
1130 Hancock Road
Bullhead City, AZ 86442
tom.sockwell@co.mohave.az.us

Mohave County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Buster D. Johnson, District 3
2001 College Drive, Suite 90
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
buster.johnson@co.mohave.az.us

Debra Martin is an adult degree student at Prescott College in the field of Sustainable Community Design. She resides outside of Kingman, Arizona, off of Route 66.

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