A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director's Corner
The Trust remains in mourning because of the loss of board member James Stuart Jr. Mr. Stuart joined the board in 2008 when Susan Seacrest resigned and he was reappointed by the Governor in 2011. The Governor has appointed Kevin Peterson from Osceola to replace Mr. Stuart. Mr. Peterson is a pork producer and farmer. You can read more about Mr. Peterson in this newsletter.
Allison Alley, our new Grants Assistant has been on staff since February 10th and is fitting in just fine. Our second quarter board meeting will be April 3rd and final grant recommendations will be finalized. This year’s awards will be just under $22M.
Grantee seminars have been set for the week of April 14th. Those meetings will be held in Lincoln, Grand Island and North Platte to meet with successful grantees to give them the latest information on grant requirements and updates.
The Legislature has passed the three quarters point of the 60 day session and will conclude by mid-April. The Trust’s deficit appropriation request to allow us to expend as many of the funds we have available to us as possible passed General File and Select File. We hope it will pass Final Reading. These funds are available, but we must seek the approval of the Legislature to expend those funds through the appropriation process.
We are not out of the woods weather wise yet, but I think we can almost see spring now. The calendar says it is spring but, twelve inches of snow fell in Central Nebraska just this week. For basketball fans we just finished high school state tournaments and for the first time, we have Creighton men’s, UNL men’s and UNL women’s in the big dances. Good luck to all of those teams.
Mark A. Brohman
Governor Makes Environmental Trust Board Appointment
Governor Dave Heineman has appointed Kevin Peterson of Osceola to the Nebraska Environmental Trust Board. Mr. Peterson will complete James Stuart Jr.’s term on the board that expires March 2017. Mr. Stuart passed away last month and had served on the Trust board since 2008. Mr Stuart was a prominent banker who had served on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, The Nature Conservancy board and several other boards and foundations.
Mr. Peterson graduated from Osceola High School and received an Associate Degree in Diversified Agriculture from Southeast Community College in Beatrice. He was on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors 2007-2013, is on the Nebraska Pork Producers Board of Directors 2014-present, Polk County 4-H Council 2010-present and Osceola Future Farmers of America Alumni 2008-present.
Mr. Peterson is a pork producer and row crop farmer. He and his wife have two sons, nine and six and a daughter about to turn three. He said, “I’m excited to join the Trust board and have the opportunity to work together with conservation and ag interests in the best interest of the State and its people.”
Mr. Peterson will begin serving immediately and will have a confirmation hearing in the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee and seek approval by the full Legislature.
Grantee Seminar Dates for 2014
It's that time of the year again where we are preparing to have our grantee seminars at several different locations to welcome our new grant recipients as well as visit with some of our existing grant recipients. Please RSVP if you have not done so as the grants contracts will be distributed at the Grantee Seminars. You may call Allison Alley at 402-471-5417 for any questions or RSVPs.
We will be holding four sessions in total. Two in Lincoln, one in Grand Island and one in North Platte. Please see the agendas attached for details:
Metropolitan Community College Green Roof Shelter - contributed by Lindsay Neeman
A new green roof shelter, completed in 2013 at Metropolitan Community College’s (MCC) Fort Omaha Campus, provides a peaceful and beneficial addition to MCC’s Bioretention Demonstration Garden. The wooden 12-by-11.5-foot green roof shelter mitigates water runoff and sewer overflows by temporarily collecting, retaining, and filtering rainwater – demonstrating best practices in sustainable stormwater management. The shelter and educational signage describing the benefits was supported by a $15,000 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The project kicked off in May of 2013 and was completed with the planting of grasses in August.
The green roof shelter works by collecting and filtering rainwater via native plants growing on the roof. By retaining water temporarily, the roof reduces demand on Omaha’s sewer treatment plants, which cannot always handle peak rainfall events. The collected water is then captured in barrels for future watering. The roof also provides shelter for observing the bioretention garden during rain events, and the plants on the roof help keep air clean as well as produce oxygen. The project is designed to be replicable for others to learn, take and modify for their own applications at home or in business.
The green roof shelter is also a teaching and learning tool for MCC’s Horticulture and Land Systems Management program. Students in a fall quarter Natural Systems and Sustainability course learned about the green roof shelter’s rainwater collection system and natural filtration processes.
The completed green roof shelter has been featured in multiple MCC publications, community tours and a public event.
New Compressed Natural Gas Station to Open this Summer
Metropolitan Utilities District (M.U.D.) will provide natural gas to a new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at 132nd and Cornhusker Road in Omaha, Nebraska opening this summer to serve trucks and other fleet vehicles.
This “truck-friendly” public station will feature multiple truck lanes and convenient access to Interstate 80. The station features Trillium CNG’s proprietary fast-fill hydraulic intensifier providing a superior refueling experience that meets the rapidly growing natural gas requirements for heavy-duty fleets. It will also include a separate island for light and medium-duty vehicles. The station will be owned and operated by Trillium CNG™, a leading provider of compressed natural gas fueling services as well as a single-source provider of CNG fueling facility design, construction, operation and maintenance. The facility is expected to be operational by late summer 2014.
“We are excited to work with strong local partners to bring a third natural gas fueling station to the metro region,” said M.U.D. Board Chairperson Amy Lindsay. “We see this as an important step in further developing the market for heavy-duty natural gas vehicles and making it a viable option for more area fleets to convert to this clean, affordable, American fuel.”
“Trillium CNG is pleased to be partnering with M.U.D” said Mary Boettcher, Trillium CNG president. “We support M.U.D. and are committed to making fast-fill CNG readily available to Class 8 fleets across the country. Natural gas is the right fuel choice today because it offers less commodity volatility than petroleum resulting in stable retail fuel prices. By the end of 2014, Trillium will be operating over 100 CNG stations in the U.S. with over half of them having public access.”
Werner Enterprises plans to operate 10 new CNG tractors using the new station near their Omaha headquarters, in addition to the two CNG tractors which they have been operating for over a year. Werner Enterprises is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States and has a strong reputation as a technology leader in the industry. Other area fleets have committed to deploying additional vehicles.
“Strategic investments, like this one from M.U.D., play an essential role in the expansion of natural gas fleets. It is our goal as a trucking and logistics company to continue to explore natural gas technologies, and access to more CNG stations will help propel us as an industry toward the future of natural gas equipment,” said Steve Phillips, senior vice-president of Fleet Resources for Werner Enterprises.
Adjacent to the new station, Truck Center Companies (TCC) plans to build Nebraska’s first natural gas-compliant truck dealership and service center which will provide sales and service of heavy-duty CNG trucks as well as conversions of light and medium-duty vehicles. The 15,000 square-foot facility will include six service bays available to commercial and non-commercial alternative-fueled vehicles. TCC is one of the largest Freightliner dealers in the U.S. with 12 locations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. TCC recently added an alternative fuels division, TCC Fuel Solutions, to provide products and service to fleets adopting alternative fuel vehicles.
“Vehicle options, parts and service solutions are an important consideration for natural gas fleets and TCC is excited to play that role in the Omaha area,” said TCC President Trey Mytty. “Working with these great partners, we intend to provide fleets with opportunities to capitalize on significant fuel savings, cleaner emissions and overall efficiency of fleet operations, contributing to a ‘greener’ bottom line.”
CNG is also less expensive than petroleum fuels. For example, the District’s 12-month average CNG rate is $1.99 per gasoline gallon equivalent compared to the average diesel price of $3.80 a gallon, and the average unleaded gasoline price of $3.47 a gallon. These fuel cost savings translate into significant savings over the life of a vehicle.
M.U.D. opened two public CNG stations in 2011 in midtown Omaha. One is located at I-80 Fuel, 5318 L St., and another north of the District’s construction center at 2615 S. 64th St. The location of the new station will help develop fleets in west Omaha and nearby metro areas. It will add a strategic link for the I-80 and I-29 corridors that significantly improves availability in the growing regional and national network of CNG stations.
In 2013, M.U.D was awarded $749,500 in grant funds from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to help local partners convert their vehicles to natural gas. The “CNG Fleet Fund,” created through that grant, is available to fleets utilizing the Omaha CNG stations.
About Metropolitan Utilities District
M.U.D. serves approximately 219,000 natural gas customers in the Omaha, Nebraska metropolitan area. They are a public utility and proud to be customer-owned. The District is governed by a board of seven directors, elected by customer-owners. As the fifth largest public gas utility in the United States, they provide a product and service at rates that are among the lowest in the nation. They also provide safe drinking water to more than 203,000 customers in Omaha and surrounding communities. Visit www.mudomaha.com for more information.
About Trillium CNG
About Werner Enterprises
- April 3, 2014 (Thursday), 1:30pm - 2nd Quarter Board Meeting.
- April 12, 2014 (Saturday) - Lincoln Earth Day
- April 14, 2014 (Monday) - Grantee Seminar in Grand Island, Central Platte NRD
- April 15, 2014 (Tuesday) - Grantee Seminar in Lincoln, Ferguson House
- April 16, 2014 (Wednesday) - Grantee Seminar in North Platte, Mid-Plains Community College
- April 18, 2014 (Friday) - Grantee Seminar in Lincoln, Ferguson House
- April 19, 2014 (Saturday) - Earth Day Omaha
- May 13, 2014 (Tuesday) - Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival
- May 16-18, 2014 - Spring Into Spring Festival, Lauritzen Gardens
- June 7, 2014 - Waterfest, Holmes Lake