Natural Resources

Natural resources omnibus bill approved

Senators passed a bill Aug. 13 that contains provisions of several proposals related to natural resources.

Sen. Dan Hughes
Sen. Dan Hughes

LB632, introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango, includes the provisions of four bills heard by the Natural Resources Committee this session.

The provisions of LB769, introduced by Creighton Sen. Tim Gragert, require that each member of the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission be a Nebraska resident.

The provisions of LB861, introduced by Hughes, prohibit a county, municipality or agency from adopting, enforcing or administering an ordinance or resolution that prohibits the use of or sets standards, fees, prohibitions or requirements regarding the sale, use or marketing of containers.

It defines a container as a single-use, recyclable or reusable bag, cup, can, pouch, package, container, bottle or other packaging made of cloth, paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, glass or certain other materials and that is “designed for consuming, protecting or transporting merchandise, food or beverages from or at a food service or retail facility.”

The prohibition does not apply to county, municipality or agency recycling or solid waste collection programs so long as those programs do not “prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the sale, use or marketing of any containers.”

The amended provisions of LB933, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, prohibit a public or private utility company from charging a fee for the discontinuance or reconnection of service that exceeds the reasonable costs of providing such service.

Crawford’s proposal also makes several changes to current law prohibiting most public and private utilities from discontinuing service to subscribers for nonpayment unless it first notifies them.

The provisions of LB1201, introduced by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, require the state Department of Natural Resources to create a statewide flood mitigation plan that will be included in the state hazard mitigation plan maintained by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.

The proposal requires the department to convene a plan development group and work with federal, state and local agency and community stakeholders to develop the plan.

Among other tasks, the department will identify opportunities to implement flood hazard mitigation strategies, identify potential funding sources that can be used for flood mitigation and post-flood disaster recovery and compile a list of critical infrastructure and state-owned facilities and identify those with the highest risk of flooding.

Senators voted 46-0 to pass LB632.

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