So do you remember how putting the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in North St. Louis was being touted as a fix for the failed federal social experiment of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing development? The acreage where the crime- and drug-riddled housing project once stood was initially part of the St. Louis site, and then in the final proposal it suddenly wasn’t?
Curious about why the feds made the sudden deletion of the vacant tract, the one portion of the North St. Louis land most ready for construction?
Well that may well be because the acreage glows in the dark.
The U.S. Army from 1953 to 1954, and again from 1963 to 1965, sprayed radioactive isotopes from rooftop fans and the backs of trucks across Pruitt-Igoe and other areas in St. Louis to test the effects of using aerosolized radiation as a weapon. They initially told people that the experiments were intended to create a fog that would protect the population from Soviet attack, but declassified papers later revealed the military was spraying radioactive zinc cadmium sulfide so they could track the plume in areas similar to Moscow’s residential areas.
Never miss a local story.
The U.S. Army classified their info on the Pruitt-Igoe land.
Silly us. We only thought the land was laced with asbestos spread when they dynamited the buildings in the 1970s.
So President Barack Obama and NGA Director Robert Cardillo’s plan to make it up to our urban poor for the failed public housing and redlining and economic flight from North St. Louis is to build a top-secret defense mapping facility across the street from a radiation zone? What, are they nuts?
Even if the feds come clean and show the data proving that they didn’t spread radiation and cancer across a poor, black community, North St. Louis still has the potential to reveal multiple hidden problems related to thousands of years of human occupation.
St. Louis is known as Mound City because it was built atop the same network of Indian mounds we see at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. What are the chances construction crews hit significant archaeological sites?
Besides displacing 47 poor, little old ladies and men, the North St. Louis site will impact known historic sites including the Buster Brown shoe factory.
No one has tested the North St. Louis land, so the environmental problems on 99 urban acres could be significant. They know there are brownfields, but who knows how far the radiation spread or if other toxins spilled across that land.
All these potential problems in North St. Louis can be remediated, but there is a cost to the work and a cost of delay. Each year the project is delayed is another $40 million.
The announcement last week from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency spokesman that there would be no “do-over” of the Final Environmental Impact Statement does a disservice to St. Clair County and Scott Air Force Base, especially because there are significant errors in that study.
St. Clair County has a number of talking points and even sample letters available to make it easy to comment on behalf of putting the defense mapping agency’s new $1.6 billion, 800,000-square-foot headquarters here. Scott offers nearly 400 acres of open, shovel ready land for free, with the deed ready to hand to the federal government — without any radiation. We offer the only college graduates ready to map for NGA as well as the military veterans with security clearances who already know how to work as a defense team.
You, the taxpayer, are responsible for this project. Insist that your tax dollars not be wasted on a tangle of legal, archaeological, historic, environmental and logistical unknowns. Comment by May 2 at nextngawest.com in favor of the St. Clair County site that makes the most sense for our defense as well as for the health of future NGA workers.