(ST. LOUIS) — The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has approved a controversial “9/11 truther” group’s application to adopt a highway.
The St. Louis 9/11 Questions Meetup Group, which suggests the U.S. government may have been involved in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, will have a sign erected with its name on it. In exchange, it will arrange to pick up litter on a half-mile stretch of highway four times a year.
This isn’t the first time MoDOT has dealt with a controversial group wanting to adopt a highway. After a legal battle with a Ku Klux Klan group, MoDOT had to make a change in its policies, allowing anyone to adopt a stretch of highway.
Tom Blair, assistant district engineer for MoDOT in St. Louis, told ABC News that after its battle with the KKK, the state can no longer reject a group based on its beliefs, no matter how controversial or offensive.
“MoDOT has been there,” Blair said. “After they won the right to adopt, we modified the process. We had to make sure anyone could be approved.”
The department’s battle with the Klan began in early 2000, when the KKK applied to adopt a stretch of highway and was denied. After a five-year lawsuit, a federal judge ruled the KKK had the right to adopt a stretch of highway in St. Louis, but its sponsorship signs were routinely stolen. MoDOT appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but was rejected.
The sign for the St. Louis 9/11 Questions Group will go up in January, according to Blair.
The website for the 9/11 truther group sells T-shirts that say, “The 9/11 debacle was an inside job” and other shirts that compare George W. Bush to Hitler’s deputy, Hermann Goring.
“We are in the U.S. and everyone has the right to their viewpoint,” Blair said.
The St. Louis group’s organizer, Donald Stahl, could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Matt McFarland, CNN
Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Paul R. La Monica, CNN