Basically, the news is Honeywell- the ginormous defense contractor- is planning a new nuclear weapons components facility to replace the aging (and hazardous) Bannister plant (http://economy.kansascity.com/?q=node/5469)
The gist of article is as follows:
- The project would build a 1.4 million-square-foot campus at Missouri 150 and Botts Road
- The agreement, which has been in the works for two years, would keep 2,100 jobs currently at the plant which manufactures 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts for the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.
- The developer, CenterPoint Zimmer LLC, must obtain final private financing for the project by March 31
- The project requires city approval because it calls for using a $2.6 million annual property tax abatement over 25 years
- The timetable calls for the first buildings to open by July 2012
As such, the keynote address tonight delivered a rousing message regarding the development of this new facility. The big take away for me was two fold:
1) As of yet, there is no written plan or guarantee from the government to CLEAN UP THE OLD FACILITY. If there is any question about what this means, just think, "Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant" and put a dollar sign on it.
2) The new facility, which is supposed to be financed by the private for-profit developer and run by a private for-profit defense contractor, is actually being funded with tax dollars through a mysterious $79Million "budget allocation" earmark added in such a way as it will not need to be approved through appropriations subcommittees and such.
I won't digress into the politics or launch wild accusations of cronyism, but all you have to do is follow the money to see how this is happening. Look for connections among the players; Centerpoint/Zimmer, Kit Bond, KC Southern, Honeywell, General Services Administration, and the new intermodal rail project. Put the pieces together for yourself.
Things that make you go hmmmm...
Before we as Kansas Citians are force fed our very own private Love Canal, and our children's children are faced with cleaning up a toxic nightmare- or worse yet, some developer ends up building a school or housing project right on top of this crap because he gets a good deal on some cheap land- get into the game, step up to the plate and swing for the fence on this one.
It is expected on Jan 14th, the City Council's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider and OK the development plan. This is an open hearing. You have every right, and an obligation as a citizen, to attend.
DON'T LET THEM DO IT WITHOUT A COMPREHENSIVE, WRITTEN PLAN FROM YOUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CLEAN UP THE OLD SITE.
BETTER YET, DON'T LET THEM APPROVE THE PLANT AT ALL BECAUSE HEY, WE DON'T NEED TO SPEND $79MM TAX DOLLARS ON NUKES "AND" GIVE THE DEVELOPER/OPERATOR OVER $40MM IN TAX BREAKS ON TOP IF IT.
YEA! That sounds like a fair trade. A worthwhile expenditure. A way to make a real difference for our future.
We're simply trading education, infrastructure and community dollars for war, destruction and nuclear weapons dollars.
You can argue jobs, jobs, jobs all you want. But I will argue, "exactly what kind of jobs do you want for our future?"
Is selling our environmental soul for a quick buck today really the message we want to send? Is continuing to perpetuate a nuclear world the direction we want to go?
Haven't we already proved nuclear weapons are a bad idea?
More nukes do not and will never make us safer as a community, nation or world. Period. But unchecked toxic waste dumps and lining pockets through politics will always deteriorate our society.
Do your own research and then go ahead and contact your mayor (816.513.3500 or email@example.com) and your City Council too (816.513.1368) to tell them what YOU think about this.