St. Clair County officials say mistakes made in NGA site choice

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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - St. Clair County leaders believe the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency made the wrong decision on the future home for its new western headquarters.

The NGA chose to build the massive facility in north St. Louis instead of St. Clair County.

The Bellevillle News-Democrat is reporting that St. Clair County officials contend major mistakes were made in the final environmental impact statement and that federal regulations were “cherry-picked” to benefit the north city site.

St. Clair County leaders want the NGA to build its new western headquarters on farmland near Scott Air Force Base. But on March 31, the NGA announced plans to build the new $1.75 billion facility in north city around Jefferson and Cass.

Approximately 3,100 jobs will move to the new headquarters.

However, the environmental impact statement confused St. Clair County, Illinois with counties having the same name in Missouri and Michigan, according to leaders in the county. The BND reported the impact statement connects St. Clair County, Illinois with the Osage River, saying the St. Clair County site is covered by a layer of silty clay sediments.

There are also apparent references to sacred Native American sites along the Osage River in St. Clair County. The problem? There is no Osage River in St. Clair County, Illinois. That river runs through central Missouri, where there is another St. Clair County.

St. Clair County, Illinois leaders also say the impact statement addresses water mitigation concerns, but those issues are in St. Clair County, Michigan.

That’s not all. St. Clair County leaders are taking issue with the regulations cited in the impact statement. They say the regulations used favored the St. Louis site, while others were ignored which could have justified the Illinois location.

St. Clair County leaders plan to ask NGA for a 'do-over' on the decision during the public comment period, which runs until May 2.