Scott Dye
12/15/10

Feds Spend $234K on "Spin" at Polluting Nuclear Weapons Plant in Kansas City

All hail the Kansas City media for blowing the whistle and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill for launching a probe into the General Services Administration buying nearly a quarter-million dollars worth of “spin” from a private propaganda firm to try to tamp down pollution and health concerns at the Bannister Federal Complex. The GSA occupies the complex along with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s KC Plant that makes 85% of the American nuclear arsenal—everything but the bomb itself. The government keeps lying while its workers keep dying.

From the Washington Post coverage:

‘The General Services Administration hired a public relations firm this year to manage negative publicity over a long-standing pollution problem and its potential health fallout at a federal office complex in Kansas City, Mo.

McCaskill spokeswoman Maria Speiser said the senator was "quite surprised" to learn that the GSA signed a $234,000 "emergency communications plan" with Kansas City-based Jane Mobley Associates to manage fallout from problems at theBannister Federal Complex. … McCaskill noted that "publicity experts" cannot engage in "publicity and propaganda" unless authorized by Congress. "I am concerned whether spending money on these services is in the best interests of the taxpayer," she wrote.

The entire Bannister complex has shown signs of groundwater contamination, and workers have complained about health problems for years.

The government agreed recently to begin a cleanup. The [GSA] inspector general noted the progress but said that until recently the agency lacked a "strong environmental management program" for the building.

According to contract documents provided by McCaskill's office, Jane Mobley Associates developed a communications plan to help the GSA explain to a lay audience the technical and scientific nature of the environmental conditions at the complex. A statement of work described "an impending crisis event for the government" arising from a media probe and investigations by multiple government agencies into potential health risks at the building.’ The complete Washington Post article ("McCaskill Panel to Probe Federal Use of Publicity Firms" by Lisa Rein) can be found here.

Scott Dye is the Director of the Sierra Club National Water Sentinels Program, based in Columbia, Missouri. You can contact Scott Dye by writing to him at scott.dye@sierraclub.org or calling 573-874-5024

To learn more about the Bannister Federal Complex, see this article written in April by Scott Dye. For a more recent update, click the link below to hear to Dye's interview on November 9 with Tom Klammer. Klammer hosts the weekly radio program "Tell Somebody" Tuesdays at 6pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio. The interview with Dye begins at minute 11.

Click Hear to Hear the November Interview with Scott Dye on the Bannister Federal Complex