KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite the 2.5-year 41 Action News investigation into the Bannister Federal Complex, today Congressman Emanuel Cleaver told workers there are no Superfund sites located there.
"Well, I'm not sure they're labeled Superfund sites," Cleaver said when questioned by the 41 Action News Investigators afterwards. "I've not seen those documents."
Since 2010, 41 Action News has reported on 15 Superfund sites at the 300-acre complex. Papers signed by both General Services Administration (GSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees refer to "many separate Superfund sites" at Bannister.
Cleaver appeared at a GSA staff meeting to tell employees about a newly planned 2014 move from office space at Bannister to downtown office space.
GSA employees said the move is not related to our ongoing investigation into health concerns at the complex.
Officials said a tenant is interested is leasing the entire complex, so the GSA is coordinating its departure with the exit of Honeywell which is vacating in 2014.
The GSA's regional administrator defended Cleaver saying there were no Superfund sites at Bannister calling it a matter of semantics.
Regional Administrator Jason Klumb said, "About six months ago, the EPA made an affirmative decision to not put the complex on the National Priority List, and I'm sure that is what the Congressman is most aware of and that would make his statement consistent with what is in fact the EPA's decision."
Klumb added that "the individual locations are EPA's National Priority List Database and that's referred to as Superfund."
"My number one concern has been, and remains, the health of the employees," said Cleaver. "I'm not dismissing the employees concerns. I'm not aware that what you're referencing are called Superfund sites."
The 41 Action News investigation has identified about 450 deaths or illnesses and nearly 900 toxins including plutonium at Bannister.
The GSA employees currently share the Bannister building with Honeywell on the east side where workers make parts for nuclear bombs.
A spokesman for the EPA said a current proposal would move the multiple Superfund sites at the Bannister Federal Complex under the umbrella of one large cleanup project which would no longer be labeled Superfund.
The massive cleanup would be supervised by the EPA.