By James Eng,
NBC News
12/13/12

The Missouri Department of Transportation says it had no choice but to approve an application by a 9/11 “truther” group to “adopt” a stretch of state highway for litter pickup.

The agency recently OK’d the application from the St. Louis 9/11 Questions Meetup Group under the Adopt-A-Highway program. The approval means the group will have two signs bearing their names erected next month on each end of a half-mile stretch of Olive Boulevard east of Lindbergh Road in the St. Louis area.

In return, the group agrees to pick up litter along the stretch at least four times a year for the next three years.
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Some members of the St. Louis 9/11 Questions Meetup Group suggest that the U.S. government may have been involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Here’s how the group describes itself on its website:

“We are residents of the Greater St. Louis Area (and other areas) concerned about the many disturbing aspects of the 9/11 attacks and interested in finding out more about those events. We have many disagreements, but we agree that 9/11 is worth inquiring into.”

Holly Dentner, a state Transportation Department spokeswoman, said the state can’t turn away a group’s Adopt-A-Highway application based on the group’s viewpoints. As long as the applicant fulfills the program’s obligations, which include collecting litter at least four times a year and submitting an activity report to the state, it can participate, she said.

“We can’t deny an adopter group a section of highway to pick up trash just based on their belief or opinions,” she told NBC News. “Should they not fulfill the obligations, we can cancel and remove the signs.”

A federal appeals court ruling in 2000 limited Missouri’s ability to pick and choose highway “adopters.” The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s ruling that Missouri could not reject the Ku Klux Klan’s application to adopt a stretch of Interstate 55 south of St. Louis. The Missouri Legislature later voted to name the stretch of highway in question the “Rosa Parks Highway,” in honor of the black civil rights activist from Alabama. The KKK was eventually dropped from the Adopt-A-Highway program for failing to pick up litter.

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