Missouri Governor Seeks Legal Action against AmerenUE over Collapse of SeMo Reservoir

JANUARY 17, 2006 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The company that owns a southeast Missouri reservoir that collapsed in December says it's surprised that Governor Blunt is seeking charges in the case.

Blunt wants Attorney General Jay Nixon to bring civil or criminal charges against AmerenUE over the rupture in a retaining wall around the hilltop Taum Sauk reservoir.

The break on December 14 sent millions of gallons of water cascading onto the surrounding countryside.  The reservoir is located next to a generating station.

Blunt said yesterday his request is based on results of an investigation by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  He directed the agency to turn over the findings to Nixon's office tomorrow.

After that, Blunt wants the attorney general to file charges against the utility.

AmerenUE issued a statement saying it has cooperated with the investigation and taken responsibility for the collapse.  The company says it is confident no criminal liability will be found.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)