Senator critical of slow response and stresses need for more independent oversight
SPRINGFIELD, IL – As part of his on-going effort to help protect the Mahomet Aquifer, which serves as the drinking water supply for 500,000 central Illinoisans, State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) is taking the Environmental Protection Agency to task.
“Last week, the EPA testified during their annual Senate appropriations hearing and during that time it became increasingly clear that our state’s environmental agency is incapable of protecting the residents who consume water from the Mahomet Aquifer,” Rose said.
Rose’s harsh criticisms are well-founded after agency officials testified at a hearing last summer in Monticello that the EPA was unable to properly test water samples taken from monitoring wells located on the watershed. Rose said this is especially troubling because the Clinton landfill, which rests atop the aquifer, is requesting federal EPA permission to store toxic PCB’s at the site.
“It was abundantly clear from last summer’s hearing that the EPA doesn’t devote any resources to independent sample collection, testing, or analysis. Therefore, at last week’s budget hearing, I grilled the department on allocating more resources to these efforts,” said Senator Rose.
Sen. Rose and Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) have scheduled a meeting with the Director of IEPA for next week to press the point. “As the ranking members of the appropriations committee that handles the IEPA’s budget, we are going to make it clear that the department needs to get in gear and beef up oversight. Frankly, I find the lack of oversight beyond appalling – it is outright scary,” concluded Rose.
Sen. Rose currently is working with several stakeholders that care about the Mahomet Aquifer. He stressed that any legislation that moves forward must be agreed upon by the local Mahomet Aquifer protection groups.