An irate state senator blasts Governor Blunt and Attorney General Jay Nixon because the state has not settled its case with Ameren-UE about the Taum Sauk Reservoir collapse in December, 2005.
Senator Kevin Engler has taken to the Senate floor on a point of personal privilege, saying Ameren made an inexcusable mistake by letting the reservoir collapse, causing massive damage in a state park down stream. But he says it’s not a criminal issue—and Ameren long ago admitted its mistake and assumed all responsibility He says the collapse and the damage caused by millions of gallons of water rushing down the mountainside was tragic. But he says the events of the last 502 days are even more tragic.
Engler says the area is suffering while the Governor and the Attorney General maintain their political feud. He says the area traditionally has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state, month by month. But he says reconstruction of the power plant, and the creation of hundreds of jobs cannot go ahead because Nixon and Blunt are "arguing about who’s going to look better in the press" about taking a tough stand in negotiations with Ameren.
In the meantime, he says, the economies of several counties are hurting and the Lesterville District faces a shutdown because of loss of tax revenue. The power plant at Taum Sauk provides more than half of the district’s local tax revenue. Ameren voluntarily has been paying the district an amount equal to its annual taxes since the collapse. But those payments are to run out at the end of this year.