NORFOLK, Neb. -- The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District continued its discussion to introduce a resolution stating the organization's intent to ensure water quality in the LENRD district.
The resolution was proposed in July in response to rising levels of nitrate in Nebraska's water. The resolution concluded as followed:
"Be it Hereby RESOLVED, That the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District acknowledges that the protection of water quality is essential to the health and welfare of the residents of the District and is committed to enacting the measures necessary for the remediation of ground water contamination. The District shall utilize the available science, data, and facts gleaned from consultation with technical experts and stakeholders to fully explore and understand the water quality issues that exist within the District, and will enact remediation measures that minimize social and economic disruption, yet achieve the intended water quality improvements."
However, the resolution was postponed to August after some members expressed concern about the unknown and concerns about the cost of the future regulations. During Thursday's meeting, many members also pointed out that ensuring clean and safe to use water was already something the LENRD follows as one of its 12 responsibilities. Many said for that reason, adopting the resolution was not necessary.
"We're dealing with high nitrates in portions of our district, and we're trying to go out and talk to the public about the proposed regulations were having," said Mike Sousek General Manager of LENRD. "Part of that discussion is some of the science, some of the things driving the concerns get tied back to human health. The current studies coming out of UNMC are really starting to have strong correlations to some of the birth defects rates we're having in this state, some of the cancer rates and it's all being tied back to these ag chemicals. As you can imagine that can be a very uncomfortable conversation, it can be a very emotional conversation. we realize that agriculture is the economic engine, so this was a way for the board to get it out there that we care about these things (water quality) and were trying to work with stakeholders, and we're using science, but we need to address this water quality issue."
LENRD did not vote on the resolution during Thursday's meeting. To reach their goal of voting on the proposal in August they will need to do so during their August 26 meeting.