Chemical Spill
1:42 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Downstream Strategies Pres. Critical of Governor's Proposed Source Water Protection Act

Gov. Tomblin wants legislative approval of his proposed act, that would among other things, require public water systems to compile source water protection plans.
Gov. Tomblin wants legislative approval of his proposed act, that would among other things, require public water systems to compile source water protection plans.
Credit Scott Finn / Twitter: @radiofinn

The President of Downstream Strategies is in Charleston presenting his organization’s report on the Elk River chemical spill to lawmakers. Meanwhile, lawmakers are debating a proposal from Gov. Tomblin. Hansen is concerned about some aspects of the bill.

Hansen’s concerns involve several aspects of the bill. One aspect of the proposed legislation would require public water systems to present in-depth reports to the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary, about contingency plans should spills occur from tanks, as well as identifying secondary water sources, and management plans. If passed, that information would have to be passed along 90 days after passage. Hansen says that’s a tight deadline.

"In order to write solid plans, that have community support, that integrate information from local elected officials and industry and citizens, it’s going to take community meetings, it’s going to take a long time," he said.

"I think if these are rushed too fast, they may not be meaningful reports that are going to do any good."

Hansen is also concerned the legislation is too limited, focusing too much attention on chemical storage tanks above ground, and not other places that might inadvertently contaminate water supplies.

State Sen. John Unger, a Democrat, is also proposing legislation on the issue.

Unger says his bill is more broad than the governor's bill. His proposal would regulate all above-ground storage tanks.