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Houston Parkway Threatens Prairie, Suit Says

HOUSTON (CN) - The Federal Highway Administration and Texas Transportation Commission violated federal environmental regulations when they approved construction of a section of the "Grand Parkway," a proposed 170-mile loop highway around Houston that would negatively impact the Katy Prairie wetlands, the Sierra Club claims in Federal Court.

Located West of Houston the Katy Prairie is a tall grass prairie, a "vanishing ecosystem in North America," according to the club. Houston Sierra Club members lead outings there to hike, enjoy nature and view the thousands of birds that live there.

"Sierra club members benefit from protection of the Katy Prairie because it is a giant sponge that soaks up flood waters and detains and keeps them from flowing down Buffalo Bayou where they could cause floods and havoc downstream," according to the petition. "In other words Katy Prairie is Houston's biggest detention basin provided by nature."

The Sierra Club seeks a ruling ordering the defendants to conduct a supplement environmental impact statement to cure all their violations of the National Environmental Policy Act.

It is represented by James Blackburn of Austin.

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