A decades-long disagreement over the 1931 Stillwater lift bridge may start a new chapter tomorrow when Rep. Michele Bachmann offers legislation that would allow for construction of a new bridge about a mile south of the Minnesota landmark.

Proponents of the new bridge say it would alleviate traffic problems for commuters going over the St. Croix river. Opponents of the bridge, such as the Sierra Club, say this construction would disrupt the scenic beauty of the river and quicken contamination of the Lower St. Croix.

Last week, federal district court judge Michael Davis ruled in favor of the Sierra Club, holding that the National Parks Service violated the Wild and Scenic River Act when it approved a plan to build a $669 million, four-lane bridge in the city of Oak Park Heights, Minn.

Today, Bachmann sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking him to "immediately commence efforts to appeal Judge Davis's decision and defend the 2005 NPS evaluation."

Bachmann's office also told Hot Dish today that the Republican plans to file legislation tomorrow that will permit construction of a new bridge. Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said he couldn't go into specifics of the bill until hearing back from the Office of Legislative Counsel, but did say the bill does not propose removing the river's "wild and scenic" designation.

Hayley Tsukayama is an intern in the Star Tribune's Washington bureau.

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