Members of the public who want to comment on the recent decision to build the $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency campus in North St. Louis, rather than a competing site in St. Clair County, have until 11:59 p.m. Monday to make their views known.
The final decision on the NGA West location is set for some time after June 2.
The NGA is a Defense Department intelligence agency that uses satellite imagery to make maps and other data tools to support military and intelligence organizations, as well as federal civilian agencies.
St. Clair County and Illinois officials are challenging the NGA Director Robert Cardillo’s March 31 decision to build NGA West in North St. Louis. Instead, NGA West and its 3,100 jobs should go to the 182-acre county site next door to Scott Air Force Base, according to county and state leaders.
To comment online, click on http://nextngawest.com/site/index.php/comment and then fill out the required dialog boxes.
To comment in writing, send letters to the following address: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Room 529, Attn: Amy Snively, 601 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, whose district includes St. Clair County, sent a letter Monday to the Army Corps office that highlighted security and environmental issues with the proposed site and questioned the accuracy of data in the Corps’ report, which improperly included findings tied to St. Clair counties in Missouri and Michigan.
“I am deeply concerned with the flawed findings that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued as justification for the North St. Louis site,” Bost wrote in the letter. “The report's factual errors, blatant omissions, and underestimated risks are nothing short of egregious. It is clear that the Corps did not adequately and objectively weigh all of the data before making its recommendation, a decision that will have profound consequences for national security and the proper investment of taxpayer dollars. I am compelled to continue fighting this wrongheaded decision during the public comment period and beyond.”
Bost detailed a litany of concerns with the Corp’s report on the North St. Louis site, including:
▪ Utilizing data that is geographically inaccurate to disqualify the St. Clair County site;
▪ Failing to meet all but the bare minimum of security standards for perimeter standoff distances at the North St. Louis site;
▪ Neglecting to fully study alleged contamination issues from Cold War-era chemical testing at North St. Louis’ old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex; and brushing aside objective cost projections that indicate the St. Clair County site is the more cost effective option.
NGA West is currently housed at the 190-year-old St. Louis Arsenal just south of downtown St. Louis. The NGA must move because it needs more room to grow and modern infrastructure, such as heating-and-cooling systems.
Construction on the NGA site is set to begin in mid-2017,with completion set for 2021.