INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, a proposal sponsored by State Senator Lonnie M. Randolph (D-East Chicago) that would allow the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to provide assistance to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in their efforts to remove soil contaminated with lead and arsenic in East Chicago was approved unanimously in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee.

“The lead contamination has reached heights far worse than any crisis I have seen,” Sen. Randolph said. “Maybe it was negligence; a problem like this doesn’t go unforeseen for over 40 years.”

House Bill (HB) 1344 would mandate the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to assist the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in the relocation of residents in East Chicago affected by the lead crisis. Additionally, the proposal would require IDEM to conduct annual testing for lead and arsenic in the soil and water in the East Chicago area. 

“This bill attempts to assist the four decades of families in East Chicago who are now sick or ill because of lead or arsenic contamination,” Sen. Randolph said. “Several families were given as little as 10 days to evacuate their homes; we owe it to them to restore stability in their lives.”

HB 1344 received unanimous approval in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee Wednesday and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.