A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director Corner
The Nebraska Unicameral is finishing up business and is scheduled to end on June 8th, but the Speaker may adjourn early if the body decides they have reached their goals for the session. LB366 and LB229 both have passed final reading, have been signed by the Governor and will soon become law.
LB366 will change the number of Trust Board members it takes to modify the Grants Committee recommendations (from eight to a simple majority of those present) and requires the Trust Grants Committee to follow the Open Meetings Laws, which was already our practice. The earlier bill required a 30 day wait period after Trust public hearings before making final decisions, but this provision was removed before final passage.
LB229 was modified and the compromise bill was acceptable. The original bill proposed to take $7M a year for 11 years ($77M total) from the Trust. The altered bill directs the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to apply for a three year Trust grant for $3.3M a year and that application will receive 50 bonus points if it has $3.3M each year in State matching funds. If the DNR meets certain criteria over the three year application, they will be eligible to come back to the Trust in three years to apply again. The criteria are listed in LB229. There will be an interim study to form a water task force to tackle a number of issues, including finding long-term water funding, the projects needed to address Nebraska’s water needs, the costs of those projects and legislation that may be needed. Senator Langemeier is asking for anyone that has an interest in joining the water task force to contact him. Senator Langemeier will oversee the task force.
Four sets of landowners (Jon and Marian Davenport, J. Patrick and Karen Stout, Cleve Trimble and Paul Schock) along the Snake River have filed a petition for declaratory judgment, agency judicial review and injunctive relief against the Trust Board and me. They are seeking to prevent the Trust from funding the Snake River Falls acquisition by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. We will see how that progresses over the summer.
The Grant Committee will meet in June and potentially formulate a recommendation to the full Board on awarding additional funds from projects that have returned unexpended funds to the Trust. There is a potential that additional projects may be funded or projects that were not fully funded could receive additional funds.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer.
Mark A. Brohman
Trust is 2011 Environmental Leadership Awards Recipient!
The Trust is pleased to announce that it will be a recipient of the 2011 Environmental Leadership Award for the Government Category. Supporters of the Trust are more than welcome to join us at the Lincoln & Lancaster County Environmental Leadership Award Ceremony.
The Lincoln and Lancaster County Environmental Leadership Awards Ceremony and Breakfast will be held on Friday, June 3, at the Nebraska Champions Club. The awards ceremony will recognize businesses, organizations and individuals who have demonstrated environmental leadership in sustaining and improving air, land, and water quality and protecting public health.
The 2011 Lincoln-Lancaster County Environmental Leadership Award Recipients are:
Business and Industry – ServiceMaster Professional Building Maintenance of Lincoln
Agriculture - Walt Bagley, Prairie Pines
Community Organization - Marcia Mueting, Pharm.D., R.P., Nebraska MEDS (Medication Education and Disposal Strategies)
Government - Nebraska Environmental Trust
Education - Bob Kuzelka
Individual Citizens - Adam Hintz, Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso; and Marilyn McNabb
Mayor Chris Beutler and Lancaster County Board of Commissioners Chair Deb Schorr will be providing opening and closing comments. Rod Fowler from Channel 8 KLKN TV will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and presentations will highlight the accomplishments of each of the award recipients.
To be eligible for an award, winners must have been instrumental in identifying, reducing, or solving an environmental problem or promoting public awareness and concern for the enhancement and protection of the environment. Additionally, winners must have demonstrated active stewardship in one or more of the following environmental practices: pollution prevention/risk reduction, waste reduction and recycling, water conservation, soil conservation, energy conservation and residential and commercial development.
Growing Groundwater Awareness
(Article submitted by Brian Reetz, The Groundwater Foundation)
One of the most vital resources in the state of Nebraska is our groundwater. It’s the water we drink, the water that grows our food and so much more. With the goal of enlightening and motivating people to protect this resource the Groundwater Foundation has launched the Growing Groundwater Awareness in Nebraska (GGAN) program.
GGAN reaches across the state with its multi-faceted media campaign as well as working directly within communities to engage them in pro-active steps to ensure a safe, lasting supply of groundwater. This includes working with business leaders and schools, participating in community events, providing tools and resources to the community, and much more. Communities have embraced the program and are taking on pro-active efforts. For example, Wayne, Nebraska has established protected green spaces on all sides of the city, hosted speaking engagements across town, and businesses, schools, concerned citizens and government leaders are engaged in forward-thinking decisions that positively impact their drinking water supply.
During a two-day library event in Wayne, Nebraska, there were over 110 people in attendance learning about long-term protection efforts of our groundwater.
To learn more about the program, to see the media tools developed, to see what is happening in communities across the state or to get your community involved visit our website at www.groundwater.org or call program coordinator Brian Reetz at 402-434-2740, ext. 111.
- July 21-22, 2011 - Nebraska Environmental Trust 3rd Quarter Board Meeting, Omaha.
- August 20, 2011 - World O' Water Festival, Omaha, Papio Missouri River, NRD
- August 26 - September 5, 2011 - Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island.
- September 13-15, 2011 - Husker Harvest Days