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Earth Day: FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR WYKLE SIGNS WEST VIRGINIA WETLANDS AGREEMENT

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Kenneth R. Wykle

Earth Day: FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR WYKLE SIGNS WEST VIRGINIA WETLANDS AGREEMENT

Federal Highway Administration
April 22, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 22, 1998
Contact: Virginia Miller
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 14-98

As part of a move to help protect America’s wetlands, Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle today signed an agreement with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) and six other state and federal agencies committed to reversing wetland loss across the state.

"President Clinton is committed to protecting the environment, and this agreement, notably signed on Earth Day, will help do that by preserving wetlands affected by highway construction," U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said.

Under the agreement, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and WVDOT agreed to cooperate in enhancing and creating wetlands within state-owned rights of way and to seek ways to avoid wetland destruction and degradation due to highway construction and use.

The other participating agencies are West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"I applaud this multi-agency agreement to protect West Virginia wetlands," Wykle said. "Wetlands are vital to the quality of our natural environment because they reduce flooding, control erosion and help to maintain water quality."

Within the Clinton Administration’s 1998 Clean Water Action Plan, the FHWA has established a goal of increasing the net wetlands acreage resulting from federal-aid highway projects by 50 percent in 10 years. Federal aid funding for compensation of unavoidable wetlands impacts on current federal aid highway projects has averaged approximately $64 million per year over the past two years, with an average of 4,000 acres of wetlands per year being created, restored, enhanced or preserved.

Wykle said the wetlands partnership is an excellent example of the close interagency cooperation that FHWA has been encouraging in its division offices and in state departments of transportation.

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