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Ameren and state settle over Taum Sauk

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(UPI file photo)
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More than a billion gallons of water poured through this gash in the Taum Sauk Reservoir when it failed in 2005.

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Ameren and the state of Missouri have reached a settlement over the breach two years ago of the Taum Sauk reservoir.

The deal requires the utility to pay $180 million for damage to the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park and for lost tourism and tax dollars.

The reservoir collapsed on December 14, 2005.

Ameren plans to rebuild the facility. President and CEO Tom Voss says the new facility will be safe.

"It's a world-class design. It was designed by, we think, the best design firm in the country," Voss said. "It's been reviewed by two independent panels of experts and also reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission."

The deal also stipulates that ratepayers not cover the cost of rebuilding the facility or for the costs of the settlement.

Despite the deal, Governor Matt Blunt's office criticized Attorney General Jay Nixon in a statement for what was termed constant delays.

But attorney general spokesman Scott Holste says Ameren will pay more now than what the governor wanted to take earlier.

"We think that a good deal had to be hammered out that was going to protect ratepayers and provide adequate recompense for the state, and we did it," Holste said. "And I think those numbers, comparison between $180 million now and the $125 million the governor wanted to take a year ago, speak for themselves."

Blunt and Nixon will likely face one another in next year's gubernatorial race.

The Reynolds County Circuit Court still must approve the deal.

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