Springfield, IL - A total of five new bills have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly 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 bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives who are working to pass them into law.
State Senator Chapin Rose says -quote- "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. It's incredibly important that we protect this resource for our families and our future generations." - end quote
The package of legislation includes five bills 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.
The bipartisan group of central Illinois lawmakers hopes the bills are called in the spring legislative session.