House Health and Human Resources Committee Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, lamented that it took a major chemical spill for lawmakers to consider some basic safety rules on above-ground storage tanks.
"The bill that came before us should have come before us twenty years ago," Perdue said.
Perdue said if the bill that eventually passes isn't strong enough, "it will happen again." And, he said, even once that bill is law, there is much more lawmakers need to do.
"There's no way to do all of the things that need to be done in one session," Perdue said. "It could take years."
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, told the crowd that it's "critically important" for lawmakers to "see that the public feels strongly about this issue."
Fleischauer said she's disappointed that so many state leaders continue to rant about government regulations, even after the April 2010 explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine.
"How can anyone say that after 29 miners died that we need to lighten up on regulations?" Fleischauer said.
Delegate Mike Moneypenny, D-Taylor, said, "How many wake-up calls is it going to take before we get effective legislation to protect our water?"
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.