Metro-East News

Environmental-impact reports due out Thursday on NGA sites

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to release its draft environmental impact statements Thursday on the four candidate sites for a new home for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The four proposed sites include a St. Clair County site adjacent to Scott Air Force Base.

After being presented initially Thursday, the findings will be presented in greater detail at a series of public meetings starting the week of Oct. 26. During these public meetings and on the NGA website, the public will also have an opportunity to comment on the draft findings. The public comment period for the environmental-impact statements will be open from Oct. 9 until Nov. 23.

The reports will serve as the best indicator so far as to where NGA will eventually locate the new facility. The intelligence agency plans to announce the site winner in March.

NGA plans to move out of its cramped and aging facility just south of downtown St. Louis and move into a new home, taking with it 3,100 workers, which the agency plans to house in an 800,000-square-foot building to be built at a cost of $1.6 billion. The NGA workforce could jump up to nearly 4,000 employees when the workers at its Arnold, Mo., facility are moved out when the lease on the building they are working in comes up.

Officially, four sites are still in the running for what is being called NGA West: two are located in St. Louis County, while the third is in North St. Louis. The fourth candidate site is a 192-acre patch of farmland and scattered trees owned by St. Clair County and located just west of Scott Air Force Base’s northwest boundary and south of Interstate 64.

An environmental-impact statement assesses the impacts of performing an action, such as building a new campus. It is intended to make sure government decision-makers are making informed decisions and disclose environmental impacts to the public.

Over the past nine months, the Next NGA West project team has been studying the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of a proposed NGA location at each of the four proposed sites. A draft report consists of the following:

▪  Purpose and need — why are we doing this? Why is it needed?

▪  Proposed Action — What is the government proposing to do? What alternatives are they considering?

▪  Affected environment — What is the current statement of the environment?

▪  Ranger of alternatives — what are the options, including a no-action alternative?

▪  Environmental consequences — What are the environmental impacts resulting at each site?

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

Three public hearings are scheduled for later this month to discuss the draft environmental-impact report. The times and dates are as follows:

▪  South St. Louis County

4 to 7 p.m., Oct. 27

Crestwood Community Center

9245 Whitecliff Park Lane

Crestwood, Mo.

▪  St. Clair County

4 to 7 p.m., Oct. 28

Katy Cavins Community Center

308 E. 5th Street , O’Fallon, Ill.

▪  St. Louis City

4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Oct. 29

St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation

2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.

St. Louis, Mo.