Thank you, snail darter, from all the common terns and emerald shiners around here.
The snail darter, a small fish in East Tennessee, became legendary in the 1970s when lawsuits were filed to protect it from the Tennessee Valley Authority's plan to build a dam.
Thirty years ago, the case reached the Supreme Court. In the end, the dam was built anyway. And the snail darter, described recently by the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel as a "not-so-beautiful, little brown bottom-hugger," has survived.
The snail darter case helped shape environmental law that came after it.
And today, that law has prompted state and federal environmental agencies to reject the idea of a cable-stayed bridge as a Peace Bridge companion span across the Niagara River.
They say Christian Menn's two-tower concept would be too tall for the common tern to fly over. And the piers near the shorelines would disrupt the swimming grounds of the emerald shiners.
Federal and state regulators say they'll approve only a new bridge that's slightly taller -- not a lot -- than the existing Peace Bridge.
That's likely to disappoint those who campaigned for a signature bridge like the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay.
What's your opinion?
-- Patrick Lakamp