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Campbell reacts to the transfer of water from Tippecanoe County to Lebanon

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Announced in late July, water from the Tippecanoe County aquifer will be piped into the new LEAP Lebanon Innovation District. The plan for the Limitless Exploration/ Advanced Pace (LEAP) district was announced by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in 2020. Over 9,000 acres, the site will be home to a massive tech and manufacturing park. However, Lebanon’s water resources cannot support such an enormous site. As a solution, water will be piped 50 miles from the Wabash River to Lebanon. 

For the local leaders, environmental experts and residents of Tippecanoe County, the pipeline project has provoked concerns for the following reasons:

  •  Sheer amount of water being diverted. Up to 100 million gallons of water will be pumped to Lebanon on a daily basis, totaling billions of gallons annually. With nearby cities and Purdue University relying on the aquifer, municipal leaders are troubled. 
  • Lack of transparency and willingness to engage in open dialogue with the public. Residents, local leaders and the media have been left in the dark about the pipeline plan. The IEDC has denied multiple requests to comment and has failed to appear at community meetings to discuss the project. Since Indiana law requires the agency to release documents that involve public funding, they eventually provided documentation – with significant redactions. Black boxes cover nearly half of the information in the IEDC’s updated pipeline project schedule
  • Seemingly few risk assessments on local water supply have been performed. Director of the Indiana Water Resource Center, Keith Cherkauer, stated that no studies have been performed to determine the impact of diverting billions of gallons away from the Wabash river watershed. In fact, studies of the pipeline’s impact by the IEDC have been rushed or all- out ignored.

In light of residents' concerns and her own love for the Wabash River, Rep. Campbell (D-West Lafayette) is calling for increased transparency by the IEDC. 

“As a resident of West Lafayette, I know the importance of the Wabash River to the community and its water supply. The lack of information given to residents, leaders and environmentalists by the state is frightening. Many residents who live along the Wabash are unaware of the pipeline project and have been confused by initial drilling. The IEDC’s secrecy here is the opposite of the so-called small government at work in Indiana. The state government has come into Tippecanoe County to use its resources and has told the public little to nothing about it.

“It’s past time for the state government to be upfront about their intentions. The IEDC needs to fully share its plans and study the impact of this project. The IEDC and all parties involved have failed to respect Tippecanoe County residents’ right to information about what is happening in their backyard. As the state representative for West Lafayette, I urge state and IEDC officials to slow the pipeline project, properly assess its impact and share all the information with the public.” 

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