Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam, raised concerns over entities that might be exempt from the bill, asking what companies would fall under that category.
Palumbo said the bill wasn't intended to "put in place double regulations" for those facilities that are already regulated, such as those that house hazardous materials. Though lawmakers received many requests for exemptions from companies, not all were honored.
"If we'd included them all, we would have had one water fountain left here on the main floor of the Capitol that would have been protected," Palumbo said.
Several senators who spoke in support of the bill emphasized that SB373 is a "first step" in protecting the state's waterways, especially those used as sources for drinking water. None of the lawmakers spoke against it.
Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, told colleagues, "There's a lot more questions to be answered," and expressed support for a study resolution on the spill and potential related legislation.
The bill moves to the House of Delegates, where Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, suggested there be a period of time for public comment on the bill. Walters spoke at a town hall meeting Monday during which he told residents that creating legislation related to the spill should be "a deliberate, slow study process."
Legislators also were reminded Tuesday that clean water is an issue not only in the Kanawha Valley, but statewide. Raleigh County Democratic Sen. Mike Green said residents of Alpoca, Wyoming County, have been without potable water since September.
"[People] are traveling upwards of 15 to 20 miles, going to an abandoned coal mine, pumping water into their tanks, take it back to their house and boil it before they can use it," Green said. "To me, that is unacceptable."
Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.mole...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.