Environment & Agriculture

AltEn ethanol plant

Special legislative probe urged of environmental ‘crisis’ at AltEn plant

BY: - February 24, 2022

LINCOLN – Ray Loftus figured he’d purchased his “dream home” when he bought an acreage with an old farmhouse just south of Mead, Nebraska. But after the ethanol plant just down the road started production in 2015, he noticed changes, like fewer bees, no rabbits and none of those Asian beetles so common in rural […]

Vilsack: Fertilizer prices are biggest worry for farmers after Russian invasion

BY: - February 24, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine this week might drive up the costs of farm fertilizers globally — which nearly quadrupled last year in price in the United States and remain high — and presents an opportunity for unscrupulous companies to artificially inflate those prices further, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “That’s my […]

AltEn ethanol plant

Seed corn companies sue troubled AltEn ethanol plant for damages

BY: - February 23, 2022

LINCOLN — AltEn, which has operated a troubled Nebraska ethanol plant that used pesticide-coated seed corn to produce biofuel, is facing more legal trouble. On Tuesday, six seed corn companies that have been cleaning up the AtlEn ethanol plant site near Mead, Nebraska, filed two separate federal lawsuits seeking repayment for their work. One lawsuit […]

Big lake area

Residents at site of proposed big lake near Gretna have plenty of questions

BY: - February 21, 2022

GRETNA, Nebraska — Nestled amid the cottonwoods and cedar trees along the Platte River, Riverside Acres offers a secluded refuge for a cluster of 25 homes and cabins midway between Omaha and Lincoln. There are lakes for fishing, trails for walkers and four-wheelers and scenic views of the river that settlers described as a mile […]

Perkins County Canal

Appropriations Committee chair voices doubt about Perkins County Canal project

BY: - February 16, 2022

LINCOLN — A leading state senator is expressing opposition to one of Gov. Pete Ricketts’ top priorities: setting aside $500 million to build a canal off the South Platte River. State Sen. John Stinner of Gering, who chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, said he cannot agree with earmarking that much in state funds for the […]

AltEn rally Feb. 14

Citizens vent about slow progress in cleaning up toxic grain piles at AltEn plant at Mead

BY: - February 14, 2022

LINCOLN — Citizens concerned about the slow progress in disposing of contaminated seed corn at the troubled AltEn ethanol plant vented their frustrations Monday at a State Capitol rally. They criticized an interim plan to cover the huge piles of waste grain with spray-on covering as not a solution, and they urged state officials, including […]

Platte-Missouri development site

Prime location for business/habitat development snubbed for lottery funds

BY: - February 14, 2022

LINCOLN — For more than 20 years, new business prospects have come and gone to redevelop a former fertilizer plant site at the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers, south of Bellevue. Toyota was among those that looked at locating on the old PCS Nitrogen site before picking another state for a new automobile […]

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 […]