Bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce package of legislation to help protect Mahomet Aquifer
A total of five new bills have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly by State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) with the goal of helping to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, the primary water source for Central Illinois. The package of bills is supported by a bicameral and bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives who are working to pass them into law.
“The Mahomet Aquifer is one of the most important and vulnerable natural resources in the state, supplying drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people,” said State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). “It’s incredibly important that we protect this resource for our families and our future generations.”
“I have been committed to protecting the Mahomet Aquifer for more than a decade. Water is the most precious resource that many people take for granted, but we must do whatever we can to protect it for local families across East-Central Illinois,” said State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana). “I look forward to working with my colleagues to maintain our commitment to safe drinking water.”
The package of legislation includes five bills covering that are all based on recommendations from the final report of Mahomet Aquifer Task Force.
Senate Bill 2073 creates a permanent body, the Mahomet Aquifer Council, to serve as a watchdog and to provide oversight for the Mahomet Aquifer.
Senate Bill 2071 would provide $1 million in funding for equipment for the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute (PRI) so that the organization can continue to research and study the aquifer.
Senate Bill 2072 would provide $2.3 million in funding for ongoing PRI operations.
Senate Bill 2070 would appropriate $4 million for the utilization of helicopter-based time-domain electromagnetics technology for the purpose of mapping and studying of an area of the aquifer known as Zone 2. This zone is where a recent leak of natural gas occurred.
Senate Bill 2074 would allow State Treasurer to accept restitution payment from Peoples Gas, if a court finds the company liable for a recent leak of natural gas into the aquifer.
“Thousands of families throughout central Illinois depend on the Mahomet Aquifer for drinking water,” State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “Developing a comprehensive package of legislation to help maintain the quality of the groundwater is necessary to protect the long-term health and safety of these residents.”
Rep. Mike Marron (R- Fithian) said “Vermilion and Champaign Counties rely on the Mahomet Aquifer, one of the area’s most critical natural resources. This legislation is a good step at doing what is necessary to protect this resource.”
“We are all committed to protecting this vital source of drinking water for Central Illinois families,” said Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur). “I’m proud to support these initiatives to protect the Mahomet Aquifer and ensure that our region has clean drinking water for generations to come.”
”After months of study, discussions & planning, this package of legislation is an important step forward in protecting one of Illinois' greatest water sources,” said State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville).