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
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 1.9 million times on YouTube). Photo: Mark Hefflinger

Thanks to all of the citizens who have spoken out against importing fracking wastewater for disposal in Nebraska, the Legislature has scheduled a public hearing in Sidney, NE on Sept. 22.

Citizens are encouraged to testify in person, or else submit written comments via the form below that Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club will submit at the hearing. (Another public hearing is slated to be held at the Capitol in Lincoln, but no date has yet been set.)

  • WHAT: Nebraska Legislature hearing: Oil & Gas Commission + Fracking Issues
  • WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 9:00 a.m.
  • WHERE: Performing Arts Center, Sidney High School, 1100 19th Ave., Sidney, NE (map)
  • RSVP: Let us know you’re coming on the form below.
  • CAN’T JOIN US? SUBMIT A COMMENT: We provide some Tips for Your Testimony below. Submit your written testimony on the form, and we’ll deliver to Senators on the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee at the hearing.

>>Click here to chip in $15 to help pay for our “Don’t Frack Our Water” half-page ad in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, so more citizens concerned about fracking know about the hearing.<<

(Draft of newspaper ad below)

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The hearing is focused on study resolutions introduced by Senator Ken Haar (LR 247), that explores disbanding the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) and/or moving its authority to other state agencies; and Sen. John Stinner (LR 154), on the role of the Oil and Gas Commission related to disposal of wastewater into injection wells.

  • A recent poll found that 77% of Nebraskans are opposed to fracking waste, and 88% believe we should have the proper laws in place
  • Transparency + “public” hearings: The Legislature ignored pleas from Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club to hold a hearing in Scottsbluff, in order to give the landowners and others most impacted by the proposed fracking waste disposal well an opportunity to testify. Instead they scheduled on it on a Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the town of Sidney — a 90-minute drive for landowners affected by fracking waste, and 5+ hours for those in Lincoln or Omaha. The issue of transparency and accessibility for public hearings on fracking is one that should be raised during the hearing. This continues the effort by Government agencies to stifle the voices of the public, the same way the NOGCC first told us we couldn’t testify during their fracking well hearing process — and then completely ignored all public testimony when voting on their decision.
  • On deaf ears: Oil & Gas Commission fails to respond: State Senators, public health officials, landowners, environmental groups, citizen advocacy groups and the Oglala Sioux Nation were all united in their clear statements on fracking waste. Every single one of these groups of people all asked for the Oil & Gas Commission to reject the permit — or at the very least, put it on hold until proper scientific studies can be completed and proper laws put in place. The NOGCC ignored these voices and approved it anyway.
  • Conflict of interest: Oil & Gas Commission “promotes” AND “regulates”?: The Oil and Gas Commission — an unelected body appointed by Gov. Ricketts — has a mission to both “promote” and “regulate” oil and gas (including fracking waste). You simply cannot regulate on the one hand, and promote on the other without having a clear conflict of interest.
  • Better options: The Legislature will be considering whether “the statutory and regulatory duties currently under the jurisdiction of the Oil & Gas Commission could be better conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources, the Public Service Commission, natural resource districts, counties, or other appropriate agencies or political subdivisions;”
  • How do Nebraska’s fracking laws stack up? 
    • Nebraska has no laws in place to protect our land, water and public health from fracking waste.
    • Colorado’s regulations on oil and gas run 300-400 pages, while Nebraska has just 50 pages, with only a few sentences about protecting our land and water.Colorado requires a $1 million bond to cover accidents, while Nebraska requires only $10,000 — less than the insurance on your car.
    • In Kansas, new maximum daily limits were placed on disposal of fracking wastewater because of concerns it was causing earthquakes on previously unknown fault lines.
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