EPA Leaving Kansas City

Like many of you, I was very upset with EPA decision to leave Downtown Kansas City for the suburbs. I wrote a letter to the EPA explaining my concerns with a Federal Agency that is responsible for sustainability and Smart Growth to chose a location that is anything but. I received a response that is as stupid as the decision to move:

Thank you for your email concerning our decision to award a new lease for the EPA Region 7 headquarters. I am glad to know of your support for smart growth.

In Executive Order 13514, issued in October 2009, President Obama asked federal agencies, including GSA, to establish site selection policies that give priority to “central business district and rural town center locations, prioritizing sites well served by transit, including site design elements that ensure safe and convenient pedestrian access, consideration of transit access and proximity to housing affordable to a wide range of Federal employees, adaptive reuse or renovation of buildings…” GSA has enthusiastically embraced that direction.

Of course, our location decisions also have to consider federal agency functional requirements and overall cost to the government and the taxpayers. In this particular case, EPA Region 7 has been in a leased building in Kansas City, Kansas for more than ten years. In the course of providing open competition to house EPA in the future, we afforded the current building’s ownership the opportunity to offer us a lease renewal.

I am not at liberty to divulge the factors that went into our decision, but I can say that weighing cost and technical factors (including location), we made a well-supported decision to move EPA to a new location at which an existing building will be renovated for EPA’s use.

I am confident that if you follow the many hundreds of such location decisions we make each year, you will see GSA making the extra effort to support smart growth and transit-oriented development.

1800 F STREET, NW. SUITE 6340
[email protected] www.gsa.gov

As you can see there is a lot be be concerned about in this responsee. First, I think that we all need to be concerned with a Government Agency that cannot share the decision making process to the taxpayers. If the Commissioner of the Public Building Service is not at liberty to discuss this who is? What are they trying to hide? Why can they not live by the Executive Orders of the President of the United States.

Who’s tax dollars are you really saving with this decision? By moving these offices into a suburban community, you are now requiring every single employee and visitor to arrive by car, and limiting the access for citizens to reach these offices. With this decision, how can the EPA expect private business to meet new air quality rules, when they are now going to increase the carbon footprint of every federal employee in this office.

Is the EPA now going to award Sustainable or Choice Community Grants for other communities to re-locate all of their government offices away from town centers?