Despite Senators’ Call for Halt, Public Opposition, Oil Commission Plans Fracking Well Vote

Mark Hefflinger
News
haar_fracking_hearing
Sen. Ken Haar speaks with a local activist at the March 24 NOGCC hearing, where another citizen poured the glasses of “fracked water” on the table for Commissioners (as seen in this video viewed 1.8 million times on YouTube). Photo: Mark Hefflinger

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Contact:
Jane Kleeb, 402-705-3622, jane@boldnebraska.org
Ken Winston, 402-212-3737, kwinston@inebraska.com

Oil Commission Plans Fracking Wastewater Well Vote,
Despite Call for Delay From Coalition of Senators, Lincoln Journal Star

NOGCC again violates state meeting laws with April 22 “special meeting”

Lincoln, NE — Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club today renewed their call for the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) to put off a vote scheduled for Wednesday on a controversial proposed fracking wastewater well in Sioux County – representing a movement that began with citizens opposed to accepting this toxic waste from out of state, and which now calls for the NOGCC to delay a vote on this project until rules can be put in place to protect our resources

This movement is growing day by day and now includes State Senators Galen Hadley, Heath Mello, Ken Haar, Ernie Chambers, John Kuehn, Kate Sullivan, Al Davis, Bob Krist and John Stinner; the editorial boards of the Lincoln Journal Star and Scottsbluff Star-Herald, 8,300 petition signers; and 1,100 Nebraskans who each sent a letter to their state senators.

The Oil & Gas Commission has scheduled a “special meeting” for Wednesday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. (MT) in Sidney, NE to deliberate and announce a course of action on the permit application from Colorado-based Terex. Bold Nebraska will attend the April 22 hearing and attempt to capture and distribute video of the proceedings for the public.

It’s very likely this NOGCC “special meeting” is again in violation of state open meeting and administrative procedure laws. If so, Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club intend to again file a complaint with the Nebraska Attorney General.

“There are serious questions about whether the NOGCC has complied with the requirements for this meeting. In addition, to the extent it relies on evidence derived from the NOGCC’s March 24th hearing, we believe it is tainted and therefore invalid,” said Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club Policy Advocate.

A special investigator named by Attorney General Doug Peterson is currently looking into allegations the NOGCC violated state open meeting and administrative procedure laws at its March 24 hearing on the fracking well — where the testimony of 50 citizens and several state senators was stricken from the official record.

The Nebraska Sierra Club and Bold Nebraska have filed an amended and expanded complaint against the NOGCC with Special Investigator Bill Austin.

“We believe the additional information provides a strong case for a finding that the NOGCC violated the rights for Nebraskans to have their voices heard in official proceedings,” added Ken Winston. “Regardless of the finding, we will continue to stand with the courageous Nebraskans who are standing up for our life-giving water, our land, our rights and our children’s future.”

View the complaint against NOGCC:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/262615659/NOGCC-Open-Meeting-Law-Violations

On the morning of April 14, when the Legislature had scheduled a vote on the confirmation of the latest appointed to the NOGCC, Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club launched a public letter-writing campaign to state senators that has resulted in over 1,100 citizens so far sending an email to their state senator calling for a halt on fracking wastewater in Nebraska.

Instead of focusing on the nominee, the April 14 debate was dominated by the fracking wastewater well, with Senators Ken Haar, Ernie Chambers, Bob Krist, and Al Davis urging their fellow senators to join their call on the Commission to delay any action on the Terex permit application.

Then on April 16, State Senators Galen Hadley, Heath Mello, Ken Haar, John Kuehn, Kate Sullivan, Al Davis and John Stinner sent a letter to the NOGCC calling for them to delay the vote until the Legislature can complete a study this summer on how fracking wastewater would impact our natural resources.

View the Senators’ letter to Oil & Gas Commissioners:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/262494083/Letter-to-NOGGC-Director-Bill-Sydow

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Senators Letter to NOGGC Director Bill Sydow

NOGCC Open Meeting Law Violations


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