Arkansas’ Legislature has passed a bill which would appropriate an additional $20 million to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to help clean up a huge underground fire which has been burning since July at a former unlicensed northwest Arkansas dump.
The House voted 93-0 Wednesday for the bill which would also allow the department’s director to request an additional $10 million loan.
The fire in Bella Vista is burning deep below the dump, which was shuttered in 2016. The dump was intended only for organic debris, but officials say there’s clear evidence of plastics and metals.
Residents in the area have complained of respiratory problems from smoke, though officials say most air quality tests have come back safe.
A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’ll sign the bill.