Two more petitions filed against weapons parts plant

A group that opposed construction of a new weapons-components factory in south Kansas City is trying again to put several ballot measures before voters.

The KC Peace Planters on Monday brought two initiative petitions, with 5,000 signatures each, to the city clerk’s office. Those signatures will be forwarded Tuesday to Kansas City’s election boards. Each petition would required 3,572 valid signatures to qualify for an election next year.

“We’re hoping for April 3,” said Rachel MacNair, petition coordinator.

The first petition would dictate that Kansas City can’t make any more contracts for parts for nuclear weapons or finance their production in the future.

Kansas City would also divest itself of the municipal bonds for nuclear weapons parts to the extent allowed by law, and no local agency could own the plant.

The second petition says the city would make detailed contingency plans annually for converting nuclear weapons components plants in case they’re no longer used for that purpose. Renewable energy production would be considered an option.

The Peace Planters tried earlier this year to get a measure on the November ballot to prevent the manufacturing of non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons at a plant under construction at 14500 Botts Road.

But even though the group gathered enough valid petition signatures, the City Council refused to put that measure on the ballot, saying it was an unconstitutional interference with the federal government’s power to provide for the national defense.

Council members also said that halting the plant would cost Kansas City thousands of good-paying defense jobs and would cost area school districts millions of dollars in new tax revenues.

These latest petitions do not halt the plant’s construction, but challenge the city’s ownership of the plant and try to compel the city to plan for the day when nuclear components production will end.