State Senator Wants Answers From State Departments On AltEn Pollution

June 24, 2021, 1 p.m. ·

Seed Companies Pledge Support To AltEn Cleanup Efforts
Six former customers of the AltEn ethanol plant in Mead, which once made ethanol from pesticide-treated seedcorn, have formed a working group to pay for and plan cleanup of the facility's pollution. (Photo by Nebraska Public Media News)

State Senator Carol Blood wants answers from the Ricketts administration regarding pollution from the now-idle AltEn Ethanol Plant in Mead. This week, the District 3 senator sent three letters sent to the heads of the State Departments of Agriculture, Environmental Resources and Environment and Energy, asking what they knew and when.

“Those three agencies are responsible for making sure that these things don't happen, they're responsible for making sure that these things are cleaned up when they happen, they're responsible for educating the public when these issues happen, and they're responsible for being available to the citizens when they have questions and when they have concerns,” said Blood, “People don't know who to call and when they call, they're not getting the answers that they want.”

State Senator Carol Blood (District 3)
State Senator Carol Blood (District 3)

Blood said instead of holding town halls across the state against the Biden administration’s conservation plans, Governor Ricketts should be focusing more on how the state will make sure what happened in Mead does not happen again.

“I don't see him going to Mead on a regular basis and telling people ‘It’s going to be O.K and this is how we are going to help,’” said Blood, “And so I have grave concerns that it's not being taken seriously.”

Blood said she realizes making her concerns public may seem unusual but stresses she only did so after previous attempts to contact the agencies proved unsatisfying.

“There’s a lot of fluff and people blowing smoke up my skirt,” said Blood. “I don’t think the magnitude of the concern is getting out to the public either...I don’t think they understand this issue is going to be lasting for decades in that area.”

She said Nebraskans should be upset.

"As a taxpayer, you should be angry to know that something like this is going on and is not being handled in a timely manner."

The state is currently suing AltEn for multiple environmental violations.

To read more about the history of the AltEn plant and ongoing cleanup efforts click here.