Sen. Jim Hendren's bill to squash the ability of local and state governments to create regulatory or zoning laws would likely spell the death of a land-use ordinance in the Lake Maumelle watershed to protect the drinking water.
The bill passed the Senate yesterday and is heading to the House Judiciary Committee. This could put the pressure on the county and Central Arkansas Water to get something done before the law goes into effect. Of course, the ordinance looked set to pass a week ago, but JP Tyler Denton stalled the ordinance with an amendment, blindsiding county officials.
I asked Denton, who says he supports strong protection of the watershed, for his take on Hendren's bill. He e-mailed the following:
I am paying very close attention to it. I sure hope that the House acknowledges that these types of issues are best dealt with on the local level, as there's not a one size fits all approach. The PCQC, for example, is trying the best we can to balance property rights and water protections. I am confident that by creating a public process, from the bottom-up that we can achieve that goal.