Eric Berger, Ars Technica:
In response to the inspector general, Marshall engineers said the Stennis design was eliminated because it would have cost more. (This analysis was not documented in 2012 when the decision was made, however). The report also states that Marshall engineers could provide no documentation or analysis to back up claims that building the test stands at Stennis would have led to higher maintenance costs or design issues. "In our view, once the design that best met the SLS Program's needs was chosen, the Agency should have determined the most cost efficient location to build based on analysis of all potential locations," the report says.
Yikes. Be sure to read the whole article to really get a sense for what’s going on here.
Things people usually shout “Pork!” about are usually defensible in some way. The prime contractors for SLS are the same old insiders, the work is centralized in the same old districts, but the vehicle itself is still politically defensible as a unique capability the market does not (yet) provide.
But this situation is a pretty blatant, indefensible example of the North Alabama Space Agency.