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Bill Seeks To Protect Drinking Water From Contamination

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Environmental advocates say the most encouraging environmental bill this session would help protect drinking water from contamination. The bill deals with large above ground storage tanks near the source of a public water system.

The bill from Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, places new requirements on both owners of above ground storage tanks and the state. Owners would be required to tell the state exactly what’s in the tanks – such as hazardous chemicals.

That allows the state to prepare an emergency response plan if the tanks leak into a water source.

Charbonneau says the bill comes after a disaster in West Virginia last year that left thousands without water for weeks.

“We realize what the potential is and we act. It’s more difficult to get people to act when you don’t have a crisis,” Charbonneau says.

Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda says the bill’s broad support is encouraging. But he says it’s still troubling that, unless there’s a crisis, many Hoosier lawmakers only emphasize what he calls “ideology.”

“On the notion that no regulations are good, or that we must have the absolute minimum amount of regulations, instead of the prudent amount of regulations,” Kharbanda says.

Charbonneau’s bill passed unanimously out of the Senate. It’s now in the hands of House lawmakers.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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