I can agree understand why this Springfield Newspaper opinion piece suggests we need to bring in a third party to negotiate with Ameren, but I disagree with much of what was written.
We can’t leave aside that Ameren is a multi-billion dollar agency that put profits ahead of safety. It is not a Mom and Pop organization, but a large utility company and corporation that has been pitting Nixon and the DNR against each other, as much as they’ve been fighting between themselves. To treat it otherwise, is ridiculous in the extreme.
Now, I do agree that the state of Missouri is embarrassing itself with this three-way battle between Nixon, Blunt, and Childers. I also agree that all parties have some financial association with Ameren. Whatever ‘neutral’ party is brought in, though, will most likely just add yet another voice rather than end the bickering. What we need to do is think about bringing in the ombudsmen to represent our interests, and also see legally who does have the final say in this matter. Once this is determined, then let them do their job.
If politics has so contaminated this state that people can’t, or won’t, do their jobs, then we have serious problems far beyond Ameren and the Taum Sauk Dam failure.
Frankly, I’m putting my support behind Nixon, and not just because he’s Democrat. If the only reason he was ‘fired’ as legal representative by the DNR was that one campaign contribution, which he returned and was subsequently cleared of any ethical wrong doing by state officials, then I can see no further reason for Childers or the DNR to resist his efforts–particularly if this is his job.
At the same time, Nixon must stop playing into the political gaming, and meet with the DNR and Childers. If he needs a third party to mediate between them because of bad blood, then he needs to find this party and begin this effort.
Both putting out their press releases and bringing this entire fiasco into the public eye is embarrassing the state. Rightly so: we should be embarrassed. We should also be working to end this, once and for all. However, if none of the parties can do their jobs, then I suggest they resign. Or we work to impeach them if we feel there is sufficient cause to do so.
We are paying these men’s salaries. We have a right, an obligation, to demand they do their job. If we have to bring in another party, then we might as well say right now that Missouri fails at government and can’t be trusted to govern itself. Perhaps Illinois or Arkansas will wish to annex us, until we mature sufficiently to be trusted to be on our own again.
(Thanks to Black River News, yet again, for finding this story. It’s a good thing the webloggers in this state are on top of this, because the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and many of the other publications sure aren’t.)
Here is Chapter 27 of the Missouri Revised Statues governing the responsibility of the state Attorney General.
Here is Chapter 640 which governs the Department of Natural Resources.
Here is a link to the DNR Ombudsman program, with listings of ombudsman representatives for each area of the state. Assuming it’s more than a token list of people who never expected to be called on for anything, perhaps this is an area where some influence can be felt.
Something else to keep in mind: the state’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit. This is not a frivolous act that can be quickly put aside. Much of the wrangling is now moot, as a court of law will now determine what is the responsibility of Ameren, and in what way will they be forced to meet their obligations.
It is now out of DNR’s hands, it is even out of the hands of the Attorney General and now in the hands of that third party so much wanted by us all: our state’s judicial system.
Unfortunately, this also means that we can kiss Johnson’s opening next year, good-bye. We can also kiss further Black River clean up good-bye, as well as a re-build of the Taum Sauk reservoir anytime soon. I would suggest those in the area who are economically impacted consider getting their own lawyers, and filing suit individually.
Let’s not all sue at once.