ST. LOUIS, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- AmerenUE declared today that, contrary to media reports of June 5, there was no criminal tampering with evidence before or after the disastrous collapse of the Taum Sauk Reservoir in December of 2005.
Thomas R. Voss, president and chief executive officer of AmerenUE, says, "I cannot emphasize strongly enough that our entire focus after the incident was to first assure the safety of all concerned and then to try to determine what led to the breach. We have fully cooperated with all subsequent investigations including that of the Missouri Highway Patrol. That investigation has been completed, and the Missouri Attorney General concluded there was no basis for criminal charges."
In addition, the incident was also the subject of a thorough investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). All findings of this investigation were made public more than a year ago.
AmerenUE disputes inferences that any new information has come to light in the investigation. Quoted by the Associated Press this week, James Alexander, head of dam safety for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said the company " ... jacked with evidence."
Voss strongly disputes that: "Alexander's own staff submitted a report within days of the incident acknowledging that our engineers voluntarily shared details of all actions around the collapse." Voss also says the company provided all e-mails and documents requested by the Missouri Highway Patrol for its investigation.
AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
Built in 1963, AmerenUE's Taum Sauk is a "pumped-storage" hydroelectric plant. It stored water from the Black River in an upper reservoir, built atop 1,590-foot-high Proffit Mountain, and released the water to generate electricity when power was needed. The water flowed down a mile-long tunnel inside the mountain, turning turbine-generators to produce electricity. When power demand was low, the same turbines ran in reverse to pump water back to the upper reservoir.
On December 14, 2005, the AmerenUE Taum Sauk Plant experienced a breach in its 1.5 billion-gallon upper reservoir that caused flooding in the Johnson's Shut-Ins area.
CONTACT: Susan Gallagher, +1-314-554-2175, or Tim Fox, +1-314-554-3120,
both for AmerenUE
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/