Environment & Agriculture

Big lake proposal

Big lake proposal hits choppy waters; one landowner says he’s not selling

BY: - February 10, 2022

LINCOLN — A proposal to build a 4,000-acre sandpit lake between Omaha and Lincoln ran into some choppy waters Thursday, with one owner of land on the preferred site saying his property wasn’t for sale. Dan Bundy, whose family has farmed west of Gretna for more than a century, also wondered whether the state would […]

Gov. Ricketts

Ricketts: Nebraska must build Perkins County Canal or risk a $1B economic hit

BY: and - February 9, 2022

LINCOLN — If Nebraska stands pat, the Cornhusker State’s portion of the Platte River could run dry, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts told a legislative committee Wednesday.  Colorado, he said, is investing nearly $10 billion to keep more of the South Platte River’s water inside its borders rather than letting it flow east into Nebraska. He […]

North Observation Point at Scotts Bluff National Monument

National parks try to make progress on long-deferred maintenance

BY: - February 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — During a Wednesday U.S. Senate hearing centered on national parks, administration officials outlined to senators how funding from the Great American Outdoors Act is starting to reduce the backlog of maintenance projects — even as visitation to parks has exploded. An Interior Department official said the most-loved parks are the ones that need […]

AltEn ethanol plant

State approved the use of pesticide-coated seed corn for ethanol plant a decade ago

BY: - February 8, 2022

LINCOLN — A troubled ethanol plant in Mead, Nebraska, had state approval to use seed corn treated with harmful pesticides years before state regulators raised concerns. Recently discovered state documents indicate that Nebraska environmental regulators approved the use of seed corn by the troubled AltEn ethanol plant back on July 26, 2012. The state’s lawsuit […]

Bill to give tax breaks to carbon capture facilities runs into opposition

BY: - February 8, 2022

LINCOLN — A bill to ensure that Nebraska ethanol plants can qualify for state tax incentives for building carbon-capture facilities is running into opposition from a leading environmental group. The Bold Alliance, which includes Bold Nebraska, the group that led the fight against the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, testified last week against a proposal […]

USDA pledges $1B for ‘climate smart’ ag products

BY: - February 7, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend up to $1 billion to foster the creation of climate-friendly agricultural and forestry products by offering grants to facilitate their production and the markets to sell them. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon in those industries. “Agriculture is such an exciting but […]

‘Modern,’ $375 million soybean crushing plant planned near Norfolk

BY: - February 5, 2022

NORFOLK, Nebraska — A $375-million soybean crushing plant is planned near this northeast Nebraska city. The plant, planned by Norfolk Crush LLC, will be the “first modern soybean processing plant” in the state, according to a news release issued Friday. Fifty to 55 jobs would be created, and 38.5 million bushels of soybeans would be […]

Cowboy Trail at Long Pine, NE

Legislators urged to invest in completing recreation trails across Nebraska

BY: - February 3, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska should capitalize on plentiful state and local funds by completing two major hike-bike trails that cross the state, a panel of state lawmakers were told Tuesday. State Sen. Robert Hilkemann of Omaha, an avid biker who’s pedaled across the U.S., said that $18 million would be required to finish the Mo-Pac Trail […]

USDA to send out $1.4 billion to boost rural economies in the states

BY: - February 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that the agency is investing $1.4 billion into rural economies through job training, business loans and the expansion of technical assistance.   “It’s a good day for rural America,” Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, said during a call with reporters. Eight programs will distribute 751 […]

Utilities decry proposal to appoint, rather than elect, board members

BY: - January 27, 2022

LINCOLN — A proposal to have the governor appoint the majority of board members for the state’s two largest public utilities — instead of having them elected by voters — would “take the ‘public’ out of public power,” a legislative committee was told Thursday. “One of the founding principles of public power is that citizens […]

Tom Riley, director of NE Natural Resources Dept.

Some question $500 million plan to resurrect irrigation canal on South Platte

BY: - January 26, 2022

LINCOLN – People lined up at the State Capitol Tuesday to support proposals by Gov. Pete Ricketts to spend the state’s allocation of $1.04 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Mental health providers praised his idea of setting aside $40 million for new treatment facilities. Sports and arts groups supported the $100 million […]

AltEn ethanol plant

Nebraska company attempts to unload toxic waste on Kansas farmer

BY: - January 25, 2022

TOPEKA — A Nebraska company nearly unloaded its toxic ethanol byproduct on an unsuspecting Topeka farmer before regulators intervened in late December. AltEn, which is under close observation after creating an environmental crisis in Mead, Nebraska, didn’t disclose the risks of its biochar before selling it to Brady Yingling, owner of B. Cole Agriculture, according […]