Kansas City Sues Feds For Moving EPA Headquarters to the Burbs


Wheatfield in Kansas, similar to view from new EPA Headquarters, credit Adam Sparks

We previously reported how the EPA Says "Do What I Say, Not What I Do" And Moves To The Burbs outside of Kansas City, a move that Kaid Benfield ranted was " horrible in so many ways that it's hard to know where to start". The City of Kansas City, Kansas didn't think much of it either and is now suing the EPA.
Existing EPA site downtown via NRDC

Interestingly, one learns from the lawsuit (PDF here) that there was a real history to the existing EPA building. The City bought a "blighted motel" and donated the site to the EPA, and it was part of a major urban renewal:

The Federal Government saw the EPA Building as "a commitment to the
revitalization of Kansas City, Kansas' urban core" and an opportunity to "create a 'jewel'
to be seen by the 'neighbor across the river' making a statement and becoming the
gateway to a new beginning."

But they are walking away from that commitment, in what the City charges is a violation of two executive orders.

Gabriel Nelson claims in the New York Times that it isn't even a bargain rent like the GSA says:

The owners of the downtown building dispute GSA's cost estimates. Represented by former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), whose influence helped move the office across the river from Kansas City, Mo., in 1999, they claim the Applebee's building will cost $27.81 per square foot, up from about $24.98 per square foot for the current space, and that GSA was wrong to say improvements to the downtown building would raise costs by an extra $6 per square foot.

Shari Shapiro of Green Building Law also adds the cost of getting to and from meetings downtown:

Currently, the Federal government reimburses private vehicle travel at $.51 per mile. Previously, the distance from the EPA headquarters to the Kansas City Federal Courthouse was .6 miles. The distance from the Lenaxa facilitiy to the Federal courthouse is 21 miles.... based on the above calculation, the taxpayer will be paying a $20 surcharge for every trip of an EPA Region 7 lawyer, paralegal, witness to the courthouse. Of course, it will also mean the same $20 surcharge for any other trip of any Region 7 employee travelling to the Kansas City CBD on official business.

Utilmately, it appears that this will not be a green decision, in either sense of the word.

It is certainly the ultimate dumb move.

More on Transportation Energy Intensity
Jargon Watch: "Transportation Energy Intensity" of Buildings
EPA Study Finds Where You Live Matters More Than How You Live
The Transportation Energy Intensity of Buildings

Tags: Kansas | Urban Planning