The Bloomington Alternative on Monday sent the following letter to Gov. Frank O'Bannon's press secretary requesting an interview with the governor prior to his announcing a decision on Interstate 69.

To: Mary Dieter, Gov. O'Bannon press secretary

As editor of The Bloomington Alternative I would like to request an opportunity to interview Gov. O'Bannon before he makes a final decision on Interstate 69. I think it is fair to say that every Alternative reader has a direct stake in the governor's decision. Some literally have their homes and/or their livelihoods on the line. I believe they deserve to hear directly from the man who holds their fate in his hands.

With the governor's permission, I would like to have the interview videotaped for broadcast on cable access television in Bloomington and on the Internet.

I understand that this is very short notice for such a request, but as you know, there is precious little time left. I will make myself available for this interview any time, day or night. I live one hour and ten minutes from the Statehouse. Let me know when, and I will be there.

For background, The Bloomington Alternative - ... - is an online journal of news and commentary that I publish every Sunday. I am a 20-year veteran of Indiana journalism and believe it is not too presumptive to say I am the most experienced and knowledgeable reporter on I-69 in the state.

I have covered this controversy, almost literally, from the first newspaper story ever written about it. As a daily news reporter at the Bloomington Herald-Times in the early 90s, I picked up I-69 once it became clear that it was a political and environmental story and continuously covered it until my departure from the H-T in 1996. Since then, I have written extensively about I-69 as a columnist for the Bloomington Independent and now as editor of the Alternative. I have also written freelance pieces on the subject for the Independent and NUVO.

I should also note that my professional career includes a stint working for Gov. O'Bannon as editor of the Indiana Environment and Materials Exchange at IDEM from 1996-2000. Among the many state government references I would offer include John Hamilton, Lori Kaplan, John Goss, and Betty Cockrum.

Again, I understand that I am asking a lot, seeking an interview with the governor under these circumstances. But as a former newspaperman himself, I'm sure Gov. O'Bannon will appreciate the urgency of my appeal and hopefully agree that the public has a right to know where he is coming from on this most important issue.

Please note that I anticipate publishing this request on the Alternative and keeping my readership updated as it develops. Also, I consider all communications with you to be on-the-record and subject to publication unless clearly noted otherwise.

My contact information is listed in the letterhead. I would prefer e-mail and look forward to your reply.

Steven Higgs

cc: Indiana media