State, Lafayette officials say no action on pipeline without completed study, legislative review

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The Wabash River in Lafayette, October 2022 (Eric Learned/IBJ photo).

Gov. Eric Holcomb and top state legislators have committed to Lafayette officials there will be no action to advance a proposal to transport water from Tippecanoe County to Boone County until after the Indiana Finance Authority completes a comprehensive water study, which is expected to be completed in fall 2024.

The Greater Lafayette Chamber and local officials met with state leaders at the Purdue University Airport last week about the possible project, which is mean to support an advanced technology and manufacturing campus in Boone County.

The legislative leaders were Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, and House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers. Other stakeholders at that meeting were local elected officials in Tippecanoe County and representatives from Purdue University.

The chamber said in a press release that Holcomb, Bray and Huston pledged to hold off on any further action until an independent review of the study is conducted “and legislative action is taken.”

Holcomb sent his own press release on Tuesday hailing the meeting as “productive” without explicitly saying he and the lawmakers had committed to taking no further action without the results of the study.

“Friday’s meeting provided the opportunity to have an unfiltered conversation around the issue of water and a chance to reiterate what has been said all along, and that is the data—yet still to be gathered—will drive any or all future decisions,” Holcomb said in the release.

“We are all committed to having a data-driven water study, and even if the results of the water study and independent review are favorable, any large projects will require additional legislative review and approval before moving forward,” Huston is quoted as saying in Holcomb’s release.

According to the Chamber release, Jim McGoff, chief of environmental programs for the Indiana Finance Authority, said the engineering firm hired to drill test wells along the Wabash River would not drill any additional wells.

Holcomb, Bray and Huston did not immediately respond Tuesday afternoon to IBJ’s requests for comment on the Chamber release.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has faced pushback for proposing a pipeline that would transport as much as 100 million gallons of water per day from Wabash River aquifers to the 10,000-acre LEAP Innovation and Research District located 35 miles away near Lebanon. LEAP stands for Limitless Exploration/Advanced Pace.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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9 thoughts on “State, Lafayette officials say no action on pipeline without completed study, legislative review

  1. My sense about this is that unless a 100 million gallons a day is an absolute no brainer, and really…how would one know….that there was this rush to push it through and over without getting facts first. ITS WATER!!! How does anyone push something through and not want data? What kind of a man does that? Ya sit out her as joe blow and wonder what goes through people’s heads….like the Governor of Indiana. A bright man, an educated man, a father, a husband, a human being sharing the same space as the rest of us….and i just get the sense he wanted to ram rod it through….without facts. How does that happen in this day and age. It makes you embarrassed to be a republican (well i am embarrassed to be a republican I guess)🙄. I fully get that there will always be the henny pennies, the whackos and squirrels, but facts man, get some data, unless you already know from the strength of knowing. And that i doubt.

  2. This is essentially ‘old news’. The comments about data (there was always going to be a study) and nothing will happen with out legislated review (if the pipeline happens, it will require legislation on the state level given the expenses required). I do believe the ruckus in Tippecanoe County has the State’s attention. Time will tell.

  3. Holcomb is just a typical politician on the take, but the IEDC has strong CV’s mostly in the private sector. Even the simplest layman should say “100 million gallons is a lot, are we sure that is sustainable?” One would expect the IEDC to respond with “we understand the reasonable concern. Here are multiple peer reviewed studies done by independent experts and we welcome your comments and critiques”.
    We got the exact opposite: diversion, belligerence and outright lying. Normally competent people don’t just wake up stupid. When they do there is a reason and almost always the reason is they are being paid.
    How many family members were promised jobs, board memberships, etc, and how much plain bribe money was promised or already paid?

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