Senate CWIP bill nuked by AmerenUE

The bill, despite stirring up controversy, was killed in the Senate.

The bill meant to modify the state's construction work in progress law was killed in the Senate on Thursday, halting plans for a proposed nuclear reactor in Callaway County.

AmerenUE, which sought to construct the plant, held a news conference Thursday in which they requested the bill's sponsors to withdraw the legislation.

Also on Thursday, at the Missouri Energy Summit held at MU, Gov. Jay Nixon said considering the economic situation in the state for both consumers and businesses, he didn't think the passage of the bill without certain consumer protections was the right thing to do.

In a news release, Ameren President Thomas Voss, said the legislation had been stripped of the provisions it needed to move forward with the project.

Irl Scissors, executive director of Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, said in a news release the failure of the legislation would cost the state money and jobs, as well as a chance to expand the state's supply of energy.

"Missouri should be advancing an agenda for a balanced energy future, but our state has blown its best opportunity to create a long-term, reliable, affordable, balanced energy portfolio," Scissors said. "There is no question that Missouri lost today."

The bill would have overturned a voter-approved state law from 1976, which prohibited utilities from charging customers or increasing prices for the construction of a power plant until after its completion.

"I'm surprised they had the nerve to ask for it," said Kathleen Logan Smith, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. "It was monumental self-delusion on their part."

The proposed project, which would have been the second reactor at the Callaway County plant, would have cost an estimated $6 billion to $9 billion and eventually provided over 1,000 new jobs upon its completion.

The first nuclear power plant was built in 1984.

Smith said the proposed legislation was unfair. She said although the bill is now dead, the bill's language could get attached to another bill in the form of an amendment.

"I'm not turning my back on this thing," she said. "It's not over until it's over."

A controversial piece of legislation during its time within the Senate, the bill was debated for more than 10 consecutive hours in a filibuster on April 7.

Farrah Fite, Senate Majority Caucus spokeswoman who spoke for Senate President Pro Tempore Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, said eventually there will be a need for conversation over the issue of paying for power in the future because of the constant need for energy sources.

"We have to decide between building new power plants in the state or buying power from other states and countries," she said. "The second part of that conversation is that if you want a new power plant, you have to decide how to pay for it."

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