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Taum Sauk testimony continues today

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(UPI file photo)

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Testimony resumes today (Wednesday) before the Missouri Public Service Commission into the 2005 collapse of Ameren U.E.'s Taum Sauk Reservoir.

In his opening statement, Ameren attorney Robert Haar said the hearings are unnecessary and accused the Public Service Commission of caving in to political pressure from the Governor's office.

But Commission Chair Jeff Davis denied the accusation. "For a company that has a penchant for hiring people based on their political affiliation, for making controversial contributions, don't come in here and lecture me about the propriety of whether or not we should have another investigation or not," Davis charged.

"I have not had any communications with anyone in the executive branch, and it's insulting."

The first witness to testify was James Alexander from the Dept. of Natural Resources' dam inspection program. He said that Ameren has not answered questions about the placement of probes that monitored water levels at the reservoir:

"We have asked, on the morning of... when the probes were removed, who ordered the probes removed, and what was the rationale for removing the probes," he said.

But Public Service Commissioner Robert Clayton the 3rd responded to Alexander's testimony, saying that since Ameren had already admitted to placing the probes at the wrong height that details on their exact placement don't add much to their investigation.

Several more people have been subpoenaed to testify, including six Ameren employees.

Public Service Commission Chairman Jeff Davis hopes to wrap up the hearings today (Wednesday), but says they could last until Friday or even next week.

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