Callaway II down for the count – againby: Tim Sampson
October 8, 2011
JEFFESON CITY, Mo. – Hope of bringing back Callaway II flickered to life briefly on the floor of Missouri House of Representatives this week only to be snuffed out again – as it has been often times this year.
During floor negotiations over the jobs bill at the heart of the current, contentious special legislative session, Rep. Chris Kelly made a last ditch effort to attach an amendment that would have put the issue of repealing the so-called CWIP law from the Missouri constitution and cleared the way for public financing of a second nuclear power plant in Missouri.
“When we are in economic trouble, the best solution is to build something,” said Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who offered the amendment.
CWIP, which stands for constructions work in progress, was first passed by Missouri voters in the mid-1970s in response to the building of the first nuclear reactor in Callaway County. The law forbids utility companies from raising rates on customers to finance the construction of new power generating facilities that are not yet operational. Throughout the current special session and the preceding regular legislative session, a consortium of utility companies led by Ameren Missouri has led the charge to try and repeal this law, but with no success.
The original bill to repeal CWIP was sidelined, in part, by renewed controversy over nuclear power stemming from the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan earlier this year. Although an attempt to salvage the bill in the final days of the regular session was made, it was ultimately unsuccessful.
That led to Kelly’s amendment. With the Callaway II bill not on the formal agenda for the special session, the only route for supports has been to try and attach the language to another piece of legislation.
But the language was tossed out on a procedural ruling by House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville. He said the language was not germane to the main content of the jobs bill, which deals primarily with economic development incentives and tax credit reform.
But Kelly said the jobs bill has grown from its initial scope of reforming tax code, and he said construction of a second nuclear reactor at Callaway would bring jobs to mid-Missouri.
“The concept, the very thought that anything could be beyond the scope of this legislation is ludicrous,” Kelly said.
But others disagreed. Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-St. Louis, spoke against the amendment, arguing that its inclusion in the bill would sink it and take down other provisions, including $360 million in proposed foreign trade incentives for the Lambert-St. Louis Airport area.
“The very issue of nuclear power is in its nature fundamentally controversial,” Ellinger said. “There’s no question about that. No matter how the people have voted, that has nothing to do with the Aerotropolis Bill.
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