Aquifer bill faces more amendments, moves to different committee

Aquifer bill faces more amendments, moves to different committee

SPRINGFIELD — Legislation restricting the dumping of hazardous wastes at a landfill in Clinton stalled Wednesday as it was moved to another House committee and with the prospect of more amendments to come.

But the House cosponsors, Reps. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, and Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, both said they are hopeful the legislation, HB 6153, can be approved before the Legislature's scheduled adjournment on May 31.

The bill was moved from the House Environment & Energy Committee to the more powerful Executive Committee.

"But there are also going to be more amendments to it," said Rose. "We filed another amendment (Tuesday) and we've talked to other members of the committee that there are going to need to be more amendments. Part of our issue now is that people say it is too broad, and they're right that it is too broad. So we've got to work to narrow it down."

Both lawmakers said they have spent a lot of time in recent weeks fine-tuning details of the bill. But neither one would say they were confident that the bill, which would prohibit the dumping of hazardous wastes in a landfill that sits over the Mahomet Aquifer, the source of water for Champaign-Urbana and other East Central Illinois communities, would be passed this month.

"We just have to get more time for additional amendments," Rose said. "There's a lot of time. A month is a lot of time."

"It's a work in progress," said Jakobsson, "and I'm hopeful we can get it out of here, but we have a lot of work to do."

Jakobsson said she hopes to make the legislation "more specific to that area so that people know what we are talking about. I think that's the next amendment coming."

Another hurdle to overcome, she said is that manufacturers want a site in Illinois where they can dump PCBs and other hazardous wastes.

"Our position is," she said, "just don't dump it over water, don't dump it over our aquifer."

Just 12 miles north of the Clinton landfill site, she said, is land that is not over the Mahomet Aquifer.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and a representative from Sen. Mark Kirk's office are expected to be in Clinton on Thursday with area elected officials to oppose hazardous waste disposal at the landfill.

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