State, Ameren Disagree on When Damaged State Park Could Open

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A controversy is bubbling about when to re-open Johnson Shut-Ins State Park in southeast Missouri.

The park was wiped out in December 2005 when the Taum Sauk reservoir collapsed and unleased a billion gallons of water down a mountainside.

The Department of Natural Resources says the park will remain closed this summer because its restoration work is not complete.

But Ameren UE, the utility company that owns the hydroelectric plant, says it could fix-up enough stuff to open the park to tourists by July 1.

Yesterday, DNR Director Doyle Childers called that an unacceptable "band-aid fix."

The state still has not finalized a legal settlement with Ameren, partly because of a dispute between the DNR and Attorney General Jay Nixon.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)