KC Nuke Plant: Lawsuit Dismissed, Opposition Continues

by Joshua J. McElwee

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The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday that a key effort by local community members to stop the construction of the new Kansas City Plant has been stalled.

On Monday a lawsuit filed by the National Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and others to stop the construction of the new plant was dismissed in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit had claimed that there was little public notice of the new plans and that the environmental assessment used to determine the impact of the new plant was overly broad.

Members of the local community are “upset that they didn’t give public notice, didn’t have a public hearing, and are not addressing existing contamination,” said Henry Stoever, a signer of the lawsuit who is a local attorney and board member of PeaceWorks Kansas City.

As reported on this site last week, the Kansas City Plant is a major nuclear weapons manufacturing center located about 13 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Mo. The plant is planned to be relocated to a newly developed facility.

Stoever, who drives within a mile of the proposed site to visit clients, has been active in opposing the new plant for over two years. He first became aware of the new plans from a notice in the Federal Register, the thousand-page daily journal of the U.S. federal government. The lack of public notice of the new plans was used as an argument in the lawsuit.

“I feel deep down that these are critical moral issues - as peace advocating people we want these issues out in public,” said Stoever. “Too often people want to sneak it by without public input.”

The lawsuit had also claimed that the new plant would have a considerable environmental impact. The environmental assessment being used to justify the construction of the new plant “is just so broad it could have pertained to anything in a 100 mile radius,” said Stoever. “It did not address that there are oil wells 7/10 of a mile from the site.”

Although Stoever said he did not know if they would appeal the ruling, the local community is continuing its opposition. An e-mail to supporters last night asked for letters to be written to The Kansas City Star, the mayor, the city council, and the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.

“All we need to do is get folks to make wind tunnels and solar energy panels instead of nukes,” read the e-mail. “It's that simple.”

To see the report from the Kansas City Star on the dismissal of the lawsuit click here.

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