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Legislature Approves Protections Against Fracking Waste, Reforms at Oil & Gas Commission

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Bold Nebraska Applauds Legislature Action to Protect Water & Land from Fracking Waste with Passage of LB 1082

Bold Nebraska’s year-long campaign generated 10,000 petition signatures, 1,300 letters to Senators, over 460 submissions of written testimony on fracking bills

Lincoln — Bold Nebraska applauds the Nebraska Legislature today for approving LB 1082 by a 48-0-1 vote, a bill to reform the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) and put stronger protections for our water and land in place against fracking waste.

Although Bold Nebraska believes the bill could have gone much farther, LB 1082 is a step in the right direction.

LB 1082:

  • Requires periodic sampling and reporting of fracking waste fluids, and monitoring of produced water transporters in Nebraska.
  • Requires periodic evaluation of financial assurance for companies engaged in fracking waste disposal.
  • Requires notification of counties, cities, villages and natural resource districts of fracking wastewater injection well applications.
  • Reduces the “promotional” aspect of the Nebraska Oil & Gas Commission, and refocuses the agency’s purpose on promoting health, safety and protection of natural resources.

“Citizens stood up and demanded more transparency on risky fracking waste being dumped into our land and water,” said Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb. “Wastewater injection wells are the result other state’s reckless fracking practices and should be banned. While we did not achieve everything citizens think must happen to protect our land and water, we once again took a major step forward, because every day folks are standing up to Big Oil.”

“Nebraskans are the stewards of one of the most valuable resources on this planet,” said Becky Hughes McMillen, Scottsbluff resident and filmmaker. “We must do everything possible to protect our Ogallala Aquifer and every waterway in this state. When we look around at other states, there’s no denying that fracking puts our water at risk. It is encouraging to see that our lawmakers have heard our voices. This is a step in the right direction.”

Bold Nebraska will continue to press the Legislature on fracking-related issues, such as full public disclosure of fracking waste chemicals, and minimum liability insurance requirements for well operators.

Bold Nebraska was initially contacted by local landowners in Sioux County concerned about an out-of-state company that had applied for a permit for a fracking wastewater well that would import the toxic drilling waste from other states into Nebraska. Bold Nebraska launched a petition and delivered nearly 10,000 signatures opposed to the well permit to the Oil & Gas Commission.

Dozens of citizens turned out to the Oil & Gas Commission in Sidney in March 2015 to oppose the fracking waste injection well permit, and a video shot by Bold Nebraska of one citizen offering a glass of fracking waste to members of the Oil & Gas Commission was viewed over 2 million times on YouTube:

Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club filed a complaint that the hearing, which struck public comments from consideration, violated the state’s Open Meetings law, and kept up the pressure on the Legislature to take action to reform the Oil & Gas Commission, leading to a series of hearings in 2015-2016, and ultimately the passage of LB 1082.

Bold Nebraska Campaign: Don’t Frack Our Water

  • Delivered nearly 10,000 signatures to Oil & Gas Commission on a petition opposing the Sioux County well permit: (http://act.boldnebraska.org/sign/fracking)
  • Delivered over 1,300 letters from Nebraskans to state Senators: (http://act.boldnebraska.org/letter/fracking_letter)
  • Delivered over 460 written testimony submissions from Nebraskans via BoldNebraska.org at Legislature hearings on fracking-related bills during 2015-2016 (LB 664, LR 154, LR 257, LB 1070, LB 1082).

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