LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo.-- Homeowners at the Lake of the Ozarks continue to live in fear that their lakefront homes may be in danger. A federal agency has ordered the removal of about 4,000 structures. Missouri's Senators and Congressional Represenatives have now introduced legislation to protect property owners.
"This is the home we live for. We love this home. It's the best times our family has ever had," says Rich Nichols. Nichols is very worried for the future of his lake-front home at Lake of the Ozarks.
"This is something you hear about in a country with a totalitarian kind of government, where they have the absolute right to seize homes and property," says Nichols.
As part of Ameren Missouri's 40 year license renewal to operate Bagnell Dam, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has stated that about four thousand structures, including about 12-hundred homes, encroach upon the project boundaries.
Missouri Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler said on the House floor this week, "FERC stated the structures 'should be removed in a timely manner and the site restored to preexisting conditions.' This ludicrous order could result in the unnecessary removal of thousands of homes and other structures along over 1,100 miles of shoreline." Hartzler introduced a bill in the House, signed by all nine members of Missouri's congressional delegation. An identical bill was introduced in the senate by Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McKaskill.
Nichols suspects his home is one of the encroachments, but hasn't even been notified. "What's been so frightening, what's been the nightmare we've all been living in is the not knowing," Nichols says.
FERC says the project boundary is generally at 662 feet in elevation, but in some areas, goes as high as 678. Ameren Missoui has requested a rehearing, which FERC is considering. Bills in the House and Senate would prohibit any plan requiring the tearing down of lake structures.