Madison County Board Chairman Alan J. Dunstan released a statement Friday expressing disappointment in the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s decision to move to a new site in St. Louis instead of Illinois.
"I am disappointed in the decision by National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) Director Robert Cardillo not to locate the new, western headquarters of the agency adjacent to Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County. The St. Clair County site is, in my opinion, clearly superior to the site the director selected.
My disappointment in the director’s decision is tempered by the unified effort of Illinois’ U.S. senators, congressmen, governor, and county and municipal officials to promote Southwestern Illinois and work in support of St. Clair County’s efforts to bring the NGA to the Metro East.
I also want to thank Chairman Mark Kern, members of the St. Clair County Board and other St. Clair County leaders for putting together an excellent proposal and working diligently to bring the NGA facility to the Southwestern Illinois. While their efforts were not successful, Chairman Kern and his team were successful in promoting our area and the myriad of development opportunities that exist in St. Clair and Madison counties.”
NGA press release
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will publish the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) April 1 for the Next NGA West project in the St. Louis area. The FEIS analyzed four sites and the environmental effects related to the construction and operation of a new, purpose-built campus for the agency. The FEIS identifies an environmentally preferred alternative and the agency’s preferred alternative (APA; Sections 2.7 and 2.8 in the FEIS).
Identifying the APA is an important step in the process to select a site that positions NGA to meet mission challenges for the next century.
“After careful consideration of all of the available information, I have determined that the St. Louis city site is the agency’s preferred alternative,” said Robert Cardillo, NGA director.
Identifying the APA included reviewing the final environmental analysis findings and a careful evaluation of each site using mission, security, laws/regulations/executive orders, cost and schedule criteria.
“The St. Louis city site provides NGA with the most technological, academic and professional environment for this agency to develop the capabilities and solutions necessary to solve the hardest intelligence and national security problems entrusted to us by the American people,” Cardillo said.
The APA is part of the National Environmental Policy Act process, and is not the final decision. A comment period begins April 1 and ends April 16 to allow for additional public input before the signing of the final record of decision (no sooner than 30 days from the release of the FEIS). The record of decision is expected to be complete by early June 2016.
The NGA site selection process began in 2012 when the agency announced plans to move from its current location at 3200 S. Second St. and Arsenal Street. A series of planning studies, including an economic analysis, determined it would be less costly, quicker and less disruptive to build a new facility rather than upgrade current facilities.
For more information about the FEIS, NEPA analysis and up-to-date information on the Next NGA West project, visit nextNGAwest.com.