Lawmaker seeks answers on Mounds reservoir proposal

The proposed construction of a $450 million reservoir on the White River in central Indiana should be reviewed by a state legislative committee, according to a lawmaker opposed to the project.

Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, said she wants the Legislature's study committee on environmental affairs to take up the Mounds Lake proposal because of many unanswered questions surrounding the project.

The reservoir would be created by damming the White River in Anderson for a lake stretching for seven miles in Madison and Delaware counties. Project supporters say the reservoir could help the state's long-term water needs and attract additional investment and residents to the area.

Errington said she has attended numerous public meetings about the project.

"I've come to the conclusion that it is not a benefit to the area. There may be other alternatives that may be of equal benefit," Errington told The Herald Bulletin.

Committee chairman Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, said he agreed the reservoir project warrants discussion but wasn't sure it could be added to this year's agenda.

"It is a significant issue in my mind," Charbonneau said. "I believe it would be beneficial to hear about."

The committee is expected to meet three times before Nov. 1.

The Anderson City Council has voted to join a commission that would oversee a feasibility study expected to cost $28 million. But the Muncie City Council, Delaware County Council and Delaware County commissioners have all voted to oppose the project.

Opponents maintain the reservoir isn't needed for water supplies and warn that the project would waste millions of dollars, flood a stretch of the river, destroy wildlife habitat and threaten historic sites, including some in Anderson's Mounds State Park.

Errington said she believes the reservoir's potential impact on the White River, which flows through Indianapolis and into southern Indiana, merits it being evaluated by the study committee.

The planned 50-foot-high earthen dam in Anderson would create a 2,100-acre lake slightly larger than Geist Reservoir on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

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