The Senate has given final approval to HB 2279 – a bill that changes the laws regarding utility regulations – a portion of which deals directly with a power company that got into trouble over the construction of a plant in Cass County. Aquila failed to obtain the necessary permits to build its power plant and has bee ordered, by the courts, to tear down the facility.
Debate over this part of the much larger bill went on for several hours in the Senate, with several members expressing concerns that the General Assembly – in effect – let Aquila off the hook. Senator Victor Callahan (D-Independence) was among those who made it clear he did not like the proposal, but questioned the wisdom in tearing down a plant that the company would have to rebuild elsewhere and could pass on the new construction costs to ratepayers.
The bill passed the Senate with some modifications and now goes back to the House, where it originated. The two versions must be reconciled before the legislation can be sent to Governor Matt Blunt.