Morning Headlines: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:
A State Senate committee spent several hours last night (Wednesday) discussing legislation that would allow utility companies in Missouri to charge customers for a site permit for a proposed nuclear power plant. The reactor would be built by St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri and would be located next to the company’s reactor near Fulton. The price tag for the site permit is around $40 million. Opponents included Jean Blackwood of the Sierra Club:
“Ameren wants to load what it hopes will be a cash cow for its shareholders and directors onto the backs of ratepayers, many of whom will not be around to see the electricity it generates,” Blackwood said.
But the CEO of Ameren Missouri testified that the proposal would cost each customer less than $2 per year, and that obtaining the site permit would give them access to federal incentives that could save the state millions. The committee that conducted the nearly seven-hour hearing is chaired by GOP Senator Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau. He opposed a bill in 2009 that would have reversed a law barring utilities from billing its customers for power plants while they’re under construction.
A former Sunset Hills police officer is scheduled to be sentenced today in a drunk-driving accident that killed four people. Christine Miller pleaded guilty in December to four counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of second-degree assault for the 2009 accident. She formally resigned as a Sunset Hills officer on Tuesday, but had been on unpaid suspension. Miller was off-duty and had been drinking at a bar just before the crash in the early hours of March 21, 2009. she was driving the wrong way on Dougherty Ferry Road when she caused the accident. All four victims were originally from India. Three of the victims were graduate students at Eastern Illinois University. The fourth was from Aurora, Ill.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's office says she plans to pay the U. S. Treasury $88,000 to cover the costs of charter flights she organized through a company in which she and her husband have an ownership stake. The Missouri Democrat's husband, Joe Shepard, incorporated Sunset Cove Associates LLC in 2002. The company owns an eight-seat, twin-engine plane which , according to records, McCaskill's Senate office has paid for her to use 89 times at tax payer's expense. News of McCaskill's use of the plane was first reported by Politico.com on Wednesday. McCaskill spokeswoman Maria Speiser says McCaskill's family did not profit from paying for the use of the plane. She says McCaskill is repaying the costs of the plane's use to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.