State Rep. Steven R. Stemler’s transborder groundwater authority bill clears a major hurdle

February 13, 2017 Steven R. Stemler

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House members today approved legislation authored by State Representative Steven R. Stemler (D-Jeffersonville) that is aimed at defusing potential disputes over groundwater between Indiana and Kentucky.

House Bill 1211 will establish an Indiana-Kentucky authority that will examine ownership rights of groundwater resources between the two states.

“This is the sixth year I have proposed a groundwater authority bill and I am very pleased that it passed through the House unanimously,” Stemler said. “Indiana has cleared a major hurdle today. House Bill 1211 specifically addresses the security, availability, and future of our subsurface water resources for generations to come.”

It will also explore the possibility of Indiana and Kentucky entering into an interstate compact concerning the use of this groundwater.

The authority will consist of 12 officials who represent counties along the river. It also provides the means for the group to pursue grants and funding to finance projects.

“My hope is that this authority will help alleviate the possibility of disputes between the two states over groundwater uses,” Stemler said. “Other states have found themselves in court over the ownership issues, and I know there are officials in both states that feel we can resolve any differences amicably. This authority will provide a means to discuss any matters involving groundwater and find solutions.”

House Bill 1211, approved 93-0, will now advance to the Senate for further consideration.