Holcomb Q&A: LEAP pipeline still has potential, could be one of ‘multiple straws’ tapped for state's 'overabundance of water'
Gov. Holcomb says as Wabash River aquifer is explored, Indiana needs to distribute water for opportunities statewide of ‘unprecedented scale.’ A Q&A on water and growing local pushback
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HOLCOMB Q&A: LEAP PIPELINE STILL HAS POTENTIAL, COULD BE ONE OF ‘MULTIPLE STRAWS’ TAPPED
Gov. Eric Holcomb gave Greater Lafayette officials a reason to exhale, for the time being, meeting Friday at the Purdue Airport with mayors, a county commissioner and others about ongoing protest over a plan to tap water in Tippecanoe County for massive, state-driven developments in Boone County.
But the pause Holcomb and Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray offered – assuring local officials that nothing will happen until a regional water study is done and the General Assembly considers funding – doesn’t mean the governor is backing away from the concept of a pipeline to the 9,000-acre Limitless Exploration/Advanced Pace innovation district near Lebanon.
In an interview Tuesday, the same day news spread about his meeting with Lafayette-area leaders, Holcomb said he said the pipeline was still just a “potential” project, as an Indiana Economic Development Corp.-funded water study finished checking test wells at a second site downstream from Lafayette.
But he said he saw concerns about water and the pushback in Tippecanoe County as “bumps along the way” to what he called the possibility for some of the biggest job news in state history if the Indiana Economic Development Corp. can beat out other states and land a $50 billion semiconductor facility at the LEAP district.
The conversation started and ended with questions about what that push for development of LEAP and what’s known as the Hard Tech Corridor, connecting Purdue and Indianapolis along Interstate 65, could mean for the Wabash River aquifer in western Tippecanoe County. It also touched on how water from Tippecanoe County could be a future solution for water needs in the Indianapolis area, too.
Question: Let's talk water, because this really is all-consuming where we are. I saw your note today about the meeting (in West Lafayette) last Friday. How did that go? And what took so long to take that trip up there to have that conversation?