Reason at Taum Sauk

It would seem that after the jumping up and down last week, our state officials are working together to come up with a proposal to put before Ameren in regards to the Taum Sauk dam failure.

Jay Nixon, the Attorney General, sent a letter to Ameren with a list of items his department stated Ameren would have to meet. Doyle Childers of the DNR read the letter and found it reasonable. This is good. This is an agreement between state officials, which will provide the ‘single source of communication’ that Ameren has been demanding.

Among the items in the letter Nixon sent:

  • Spend $350 million rebuilding the Taum Sauk reservoir, including state of the art safety facilities.
  • Continue to make tax payments to the county while the rebuild is underway
  • Not pass the costs of the restoration on to the customers

This, I’m assuming, would be in addition to the demands put forth by the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Conservation. These include right of ways, as well as the funds to clean up the Black River, reimburse the people of the immediate community, account for future problems and cleanup, as well as rebuild Johnson’s.

All total, this sounds like it will cost well over half a billion dollars. However, it also sounds like Ameren would get away without any criminal charges, and the company must want that.

It is in the best interests of everyone — Ameren, DNR, DOC, the AG office, the people of Reynolds County and the rest of the state–for this to move forward swiftly. All of us are exhausted by this event.

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