Associated Press Published

Senate Starts Work to Scale Back Law after Chemical Spill


State lawmakers have taken their first action to scale back a wide-ranging law safeguarding against chemical spills from aboveground tanks.

A January 2014 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents for days spurred the law.

A Senate committee passed an amended bill Tuesday to deregulate about 36,000 aboveground storage tanks from the new law.

Currently, about 48,000 tanks are registered under the law.

Approximately 12,000 tanks within a certain distance of water supplies, or containing hazardous materials, would remain regulated with the bill.

Some lawmakers and industry groups have said current law goes too far.

Environmental groups have opposed reducing protections.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman spoke in support of proposed changes.

The Senate floor is the next step.

A House version hasn’t been heard yet.