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Health monitoring added to West Virginia chem spill bill

CHARLESTON (AP) — A legislative panel is pushing for long-term health monitoring for 300,000 West Virginians whose water was tainted by a January chemical spill.

The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee added the monitoring amendment to a regulatory bill for aboveground storage tanks. The committee passed the bill after considering about 60 amendments over nine hours Sunday through Monday.

The amendment doesn’t specify how to pay for monitoring. Senate Majority Leader John Unger has suggested using $10 million in reserves for a 10-year program.

The bill further regulates many aboveground tanks holding more than 1,320 gallons. It requires 150 public water systems to craft protection plans.

By Saturday, the bill has to pass another committee and the House. The Senate has to approve changes.

The spill contaminated residents’ drinking water for days.

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