The company has been operating the plant under a temporary licence for the last year and the new licence is the final stage of a process that began more than five years ago. The licence also gives AmerenUE responsibility for the management of Lake of the Ozarks and it is expected that company officials will soon release details of a newly revised Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). Under the terms of the licence, the SMP must be filed within one year to make sure that any shoreline developments within the boundaries of the project are consistent with the licence. The new SMP will be presented to the public in a series of meetings, details of which are expected to be announced in the near future.

The new SMP will guide growth and development of the area, as well as protecting environmentally sensitive sites within the boundaries of the project that encompasses the lake. An original SMP was rejected after opposition from local groups – including lakefront property owners, realtors and banks – who believed that some of the restrictions on the placement of docks were excessive.

In an effort to address these concerns, AmerenUE revised the plan in conjunction with state and federal resource agencies, as well as the shoreline management committee.

In a statement, FERC said: ‘The new licence assures the continued operation of a reliable power source in the region while minimizing downstream erosion and protecting water quality, fisheries, wetlands, recreation and historical resources at the project.’

AmerenUE’s 40 year licence takes immediate effect and includes provision for:

* A fish protection plan.

* Ugrading existing units.

* Improving recreational facilities.

* Developing and implementing a recreation management plan.

* Developing an operations and flow monitoring plan.

* Monitoring shoreline erosion downstream.

* Continuing to monitor the lake level, inflow and project discharge.