Bill Seeks To Protect Drinking Water From Contamination
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.