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TAKE TIME TO WRITE A LETTER STATING YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE SOUTH MOUNTAIN EXTENSION TO THE LOOP 202

May 25, 2011

Support us on our ongoing effort in protecting the Gila River Indian Community’s vital connection with Muadag Do’ag (South Mountain) and ensuring the mental, spiritual, and biological well being for today’s and tomorrow’s community members, by submitting written comments against the proposed South Mountain Loop 202 extensions.

Friday June 3, 2011 is the deadline to submit your written comments to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) about the proposed South Mountain extension to the 202 freeway. The State Transportation Board will consider all of the public comments before adopting the final program in June.

PLEASE TAKE TIME TO WRITE A LETTER STATING YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE SOUTH MOUNTAIN EXTENSION TO THE LOOP 202 TO:

ADOT Five Year Program
Communication and Community Partnerships
206 South 17th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85007

BACKGROUND:
The two currently proposed routes for the freeway are less than a mile apart and will have the same harmful effects on the Gila River Indian Community’s air quality, health and traditional cultural properties.

The on-reservation alignment will result in a loss of approximately 600 acres of tribal land, and the forced relocation of Akimel O’odham and Pee-Posh families.

The off-reservation alignment would gouge a 40-story high, 200-yard wide cut into South Mountain, which is sacred to all O’odham and Pee-Posh.

We are sending the message out that “No Build” is the only option that preserves the health of GRIC, respects O’odham and Pee-Posh traditions and is also beneficial for Laveen and Ahwatukee residents who will be affected by the noise and pollution of a new freeway.

PLEASE HELP US IN OUR NO BUILD EFFORTS!

Here is a sample letter that can be used to help draft your own letter to ADOT or an Editor of a newspaper. We also have a PDF version

Dear Editors/ ADOT,

As the June 3 deadline for comments on the proposed routes for the South Mountain extension to the 202 freeway rapidly approaches, I would like to ask others to help ask for a NO BUILD option to be taken seriously.

It’s disheartening to see Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) officials pushing a freeway that would ultimately negatively affect the future of Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) members as well as Laveen and Ahwatukee residents. Yes, there are two proposed routes for this extension, but how could either be a healthy option? To begin with, both routes are less than a mile from each other. The proposed on-reservation route would go through GRIC, and would, in the end, result in a loss of approximately 600 acres of tribal land, as well as the forced relocation of Akimel O’odham and Pi-Posh families. The off-reservation alignment would gouge a 40-story high, 200-yard wide cut into South Mountain, which is sacred to all O’odham and Pi-Posh.

Firstly, I urge everyone to ask themselves what type of options are these for GRIC? Secondly, what happened to the “no build option’? What ADOT is essentially forcing GRIC to do is take the brunt of this freeway. One proposal results in members of the community losing their homes. The other permanently desecrates a sacred place to all of the O’odham and Pi-Posh people.

Another glaring fact neglects to publicly address is the environmental and health impacts this freeway would have. It is a fact that both “proposals” would bring everlasting harm to the air quality of the Southwest Valley.  According to the 43rd Avenue air monitor, this area has registered the highest particulate matter readings in all of metropolitan Phoenix.  At all of the ADOT and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) meetings, it was promised that a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) report would come forth prior to any decisions being made on accepting routes. Why hasn’t this happened?

Where are the facts on air, light, and noise pollution for the communities that would be affected? At many schools around the valley, children are prohibited from enjoying recess many days out of the year due to ozone advisories, when the air is unsafe to breathe for children and the elderly. Where are the statistics on how an eight lane addition to Loop 202 would affect the air quality, animals, and environment in direct and surrounding areas of the two alignments?

In closing, I ask everyone reading this to urge the Maricopa Association of Governments and ADOT to respect NO BUILD as an option. For more information please see nosouthmountainfreeway.wordpress.com.

Sincerely,

[X]

[Title]

[Contact information (phone, email)]

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