Senators: Support LR 159 to Appoint a Special Committee to Investigate the Mead Environmental Disaster

Nebraska Legislature Executive Board Members

Senator Blood's LR 159 requires the Executive Board of the Legislature to appoint a special committee to investigate the ecological disaster in Saunders County, Nebraska known as AltEn.

Bold has supported the people of the area by hosting a town hall to help them get answers to their concerns and by providing water filters to residents concerned about the safety of their drinking water.

Unfortunately, LR 159 is stuck in committee and we need your help to bring it to the floor for full debate.

Executive Board membership is listed below. Please use this form to email all members of the committee, and specifically call Senator Hilgers and Senator Hughes to request that this be advanced out of the committee to the floor for a vote. Time is running out.
  • Sen. Dan Hughes, Chairperson (402) 471-2805
  • Sen. Tony Vargas (VC) (402)-471-2721
  • Sen. Suzanne Geist  (402) 471-2731
  • Sen. Mike Hilgers (402) 471-2673
  • Sen. Steve Lathrop 402-471-2623
  • Sen. John Lowe (402) 471-2726
  • Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks 402-471-2633
  • Sen. John McCollister 402-471-2622
  • Sen. Julie Slama (402) 471-2733
  • Sen. John Stinner (402)-471-2802
Sponsored by

To: Nebraska Legislature Executive Board Members
From: [Your Name]

This is a crisis of unparalleled proportions. The Legislature has an obligation to rise
up and meet the needs of our fellow Nebraskans.

Why this is important:

+ NDEE delayed action to stop the production of the contaminated wastewater and wetcake for years. Director Macy stated in testimony that he always had the authority he needed. Why didn't he act sooner? Are there gaps in guidance from the Legislature that create loopholes for bad actors like AltEn?

+ The remediation plan submitted by the voluntary group is only a contain and cover up plan, not remediation, and it will be another several months before there will be a public hearing on any plan. Why have we not engaged the EPA to remediate the site under the "superfund" regulations?

+ This is not just about Mead. Residents in Saunders County, soldiers and staff at the National Guard training site, and staff, students and animals at the UNL research center were all subjected to pollutants for years while NDEE, NDA and the AG waited. The Legislature has the obligation for oversight of State agencies that fail in their responsibilities.

+ Nebraska's groundwater is increasingly contaminated with nitrates and other chemicals such as the ones now found under the ALtEn site. NDEE has no metric to measure success for protection of natural resources. Their only stated measure of accomplishment is how many days it takes to approve a permit to discharge waste into the environment. Should the Legislature act to require reporting of compliance and spill events?

+ In the 2021 article by the Guardian, an NDEE employee stated that "AltEn officials were just hard-working people trying to make a living" What was Director Macy's response to that statement? Is it reflective of Agency policy?

+ Currently the seed companies are bearing the cost of containment. They have no legal obligation to continue long term. What assurance do we have that they will fully remediate all the water, soil, wetcake and equipment to clear the site, the area downstream and adjoining the fields that were contaminated with the pesticides as well as the groundwater that is already contaminated

+ What will be the total cost of the clean-up? Will taxpayers be stuck with the tab?