Tag Archives: Nebraska Legislature

City council approve solar project agreement

By Nick Stevenson, Norfolk Daily News

The Norfolk City Council approved a Community Solar Project Agreement at its meeting Monday night. City Engineer Steve Rames told the council members the agreement amends the current Distribution System Lease Agreement between the Nebraska Public Power District and the City. Read more here.

Photo by Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons



Solar Land Lease Considerations for Landowners: Webinar Presented by Nebraska & Ohio Extension Specialists


In 2016 the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 824, which removed some regulatory barriers connected to renewable energy development in our state.

Nebraska legislators, scientists make 11th hour bid for climate change study

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

LB 283 has made it out of committee and is Sen. John McCollister’s priority bill, which means that it’s guaranteed an airing over the remaining 17 days of the session.

Nebraskans know well the destructive power of weather. Take the catastrophic flood in 2019 that caused $3.4 billion in damage, or the 2012 flash drought that sucked $4 billion out of the state. Or the 2.5-mile-wide tornado that smashed into Hallam in 2004. But that’s not what keeps Nebraska’s climate scientists up at night. Instead, it’s the knowledge that as bad as things have beenNebraska’s weather will become more extreme because of global warming. And the state needs to prepare. For that reason, they, Nebraska youths and others have joined with a group of state senators to make an 11th hour push for the Legislature to pass a climate action plan this session, which resumes Monday. And they’re seeking the public’s help, asking that people contact their senators to support Legislative Bill 283, which would fund a study that has stalled for a number of years. Continue reading here.

LB283: Provide for a climate change study

Find Your Senator and District

32 states, including Iowa, have released a climate action plan or are in the process of revising or developing one, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Library & Map

Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council, Final Report, December 23, 2008

Previously Posted

Call for Nebraska climate change plan advances to full legislative debate, Lincoln Journal Star. Under the amended version, the university would be given $250,000 in cash funds paid by petroleum companies to “develop an evidence-based, data-driven, strategic action plan” establishing a baseline measurement of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The petroleum release fund holds about $5 million and is maintained by fees paid by gas companies who have leaking tanks, Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas said.

Last Day to Submit Letters on LB 973: Adopt the Homeowner Association Act

LB 973 was introduced by Senator Kilowski on January 13, 2020: 
The purpose of LB 973 is to create a statutory framework for the structure and procedures of a homeowner association created after January 1, 2021. As written, this bill would not apply to current homeowner associations unless their membership votes to come under the new law. The reason for LB 973 is to address homeowners’ concerns about association duties and their ability to communicate and resolve conflicts, to encourage the use of solar energy systems and to clarify the allowances and restrictions of yard signs. 

Read more here: Introducer’s Statement of Intent

The Urban Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on LB 973 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 1:30 pm in Room 1510. 

Urban Affairs Committee Members
Senator Justin Wayne, Chairperson jwayne@leg.ne.gov
Senator John Arch jarch@leg.ne.gov
Senator Tom Briese tbriese@leg.ne.gov
Senator Sue Crawford scrawford@leg.ne.gov
Senator Matt Hansen mhansen@leg.ne.gov
Senator Megan Hunt mhunt@leg.ne.gov
Senator John Lowe mhunt@leg.ne.gov

The Nebraska Legislature’s Written Position Letter Policy for Public Hearings

If you are not testifying in person on a bill and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record. 

TUESDAY TOPIC: Let’s get serious about being green

Written by John McCollister, Sioux City Journal

Climate change is a life-and-death threat. Climate is changing environmental conditions in every region. It affects the health, safety and security of all the world’s inhabitants – humans, animals and plants – all life on earth. What sort of future do we want for our descendants? Do we want a world with rising tides, greater weather variation and severity, compelled migration of peoples suffering climate disasters, or a world where countless species are erased from the face of the earth? Not me. We must do better.

Last spring the stark reality of our warming climate was painfully demonstrated in Nebraska. Heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt triggered massive flooding and inundated countless homes, farms and communities. Fremont and Valley became islands. Norfolk evacuated a third of its residents. The Platte River swelled to “historic proportions.” Governor Ricketts declared a state of emergency to counter “the most extensive damage our state has ever experienced” at a cost of $1.3 billion. Continue reading here.

John McCollister of Omaha represents District 20 in the Nebraska Legislature.

Farm practices could be a way to reduce impact of heavy rains, UNL researcher says

By Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald

Keep living roots in the soil to get more precipitation absorbed. That was a key takeaway from a University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher’s deep dive into water retention practices. The Nebraska Legislature this year approved the creation of the Healthy Soils Task Force. Healthy soils are those with more carbon, or living matter, in it, said Chairman Keith Berns, a Bladen farmer who also runs a cover crop seed business. The benefits of healthy soil, he said, include being better for the environment, producing healthy food and saving money for the producer.

“It works really well and allows them to make more money but it’s also environmentally better,” Berns said. And, yes, it increases water absorption — which in turn helps prevent flooding and erosion. [Aaron Hird, Nebraska’s soil health specialist at the Natural Resource Conservation Service] said every farmer he talked to that had cover crops during this year’s flooding said those fields fared better than others nearby. And cover crops can help the soil recover from the effects of the flood, allowing production to resume faster, he said. Read the entire article here.

The above graphic was published as part of the research Andrea Basche and co-author Marcia DeLonge conducted to analyze different farming practices and soil retention. Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Related Article
Analysis IDs ag practices to fight flood, drought, by Scott Schrage, University Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

About the Co-Authors
Andrea Basche is Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Marcia DeLonge is Research Director and Senior Scientist, Food and Environment, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Previously Posted Articles

  • Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change, Christian Science Monitor
  • Soil matters more than you thinkby Shauna Sadowski, GreenBiz
    A single teaspoon of healthy soil can support more microorganisms than there are people on the planet. These microorganisms play a role in unlocking the soil’s complex network of physical, biological and chemical functions, and scientists are just scratching the surface in understanding these interconnected relationships. What we do know is that healthy soil has the potential to restore ecosystems, increase biodiversity and improve water quality, among other ecosystem services. It also can draw carbon out of the atmosphere and store it underground, helping to reduce greenhouse gases. With 70 percent of sequestered carbon stored in lands directly influenced by agriculture, grazing or forest management, the food industry has a unique opportunity to tackle climate change through better soil management. 
  • How regenerative land and livestock management practices can sequester carbon, by Shauna Sadowski, GreenBiz. Developing a holistic, inclusive and outcomes-based approach to regenerative agriculture means inviting all types of farmers to the conversation and prioritizing impact measurements at the farm-level. We recognize that farmers are critical to advancing this work, and we want to do what we can to support them and advance their regenerative practices.

National / International Resources

Nebraska Resources

Nebraska Legislation

LB 243, to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0 and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 18th.

Featured White Paper
Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, The Rodale Institute

The white paper from the Rodale Institute found developing tests to measure carbon sequestration is the best chance for quantitatively showing the amount of regenerative agriculture needed to actually help the climate. The trials will find the best ideas and offer support networks for farmers who are already working on regenerative models. “With the use of cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage, we can actually sequester more carbon than is currently emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change,” Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute, said in the report.

Upcoming Webcast
GreenBiz – Natural Climate Solutions: Tap into the Opportunities, November 12, 2019, 10 to 11 am.

Nebraska to Become the Midwest’s Leader in Building Efficiency

By Tara Lukasik, Building Safety Journal. Republished in the Nebraska
Energy Office’s June 2019 Newsletter, Nebraska Energy Quarterly

The state of Nebraska is ready to update the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings — from the 2009 to the 2018 edition — which will make the state a regional leader on building efficiency. Nebraska lawmakers presented LB 405 to Governor Pete Ricketts on May 2, 2019, which he signed into law (effective Sept. 7, 2019).

Shortly before, Governor Ricketts signed LB 348 into law (also effective Sept. 7, 2019) which updates the International Building Code, International Residential Code and International Existing Building Code from the 2012 to the 2018 edition. Read the entire article here.

Additional articles and resources in the electronic newsletter are posted here.

Click here to subscribe to the Nebraska Energy Quarterly.

Up on the Roof: Dundee DIY

Written by Cheril Lee, The Reader

When Eric Williams, [immediate past president] of Nebraskans for Solar, was looking for a home to buy in 2011, he said one of the primary considerations was the orientation of the home and the slope of the roof. “I was projecting forward and expecting I would want to install solar and generate electricity in my own home,” explained Williams. “So the first step was seeing if the home I was looking at was a good candidate for the future.” In 2012-2013, Williams said he had some casual discussions about solar, talked to some contractors and attended some meetings. “By 2014, I decided I wanted to move forward . . . ”  Continue reading.


The Nebraska Legislature’s Environmental Focus, The Reader

The legislature has a lot they’re trying to accomplish in the next few months. Among the mix of other bills they are working on, Senator Carol Blood and Senator Tony Vargas both have pieces of legislation that are meant to encourage energy efficiency. Senator Blood’s bill LB 87 would, “Redefine a qualified facility and authorize local distribution utilities to waive certain requirements relating to net metering,” according to the Nebraska Legislature’s website.

Blood said this bill would help update an old net metering law, allowing for larger solar installations. Read more.

                 Senator Carol Blood

The legislative session ends on June 2nd. Status of bills is available online at NebraskaLegislature.gov

Nebraska’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Legislation

20150320_130220LB 1012, proposed by Senator Heath Mello and made a Priority Bill by Senator Ken Haar, was unanimously voted into law on April 7th. The Nebraska Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law provides a simple and effective means for property owners to finance energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects.

An assessment is added to the property’s tax bill and repaid for up to 20 years. PACE financing stays with the property when it’s sold. In other states with PACE legislation, it is creating jobs and promoting community economic development while improving the environment. Scientific American Magazine has called PACE one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas.

LB1012’s History: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=283