Date of this Version
Op-Ed from ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics, Fall 2022.
Bridgeport Ethanol LLC is Nebraska’s first ethanol plant to be under contract for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in the state. Despite ongoing safety concerns by federal regulators and organized opposition from affected landowners, Carbon America is pushing forward with their plans to have the Bridgeport CCS facility operational by 2024. At a time when Nebraska has barely begun cleanup of the AltEn disaster in Mead, and the agrochemical contamination levels in our soil and groundwater are at historic levels, we cannot carelessly add one more pollutant to the mix.
In May of this year the Legislature passed the Nebraska Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide Act, ending our reign as the only state without CCS regulation. The intent was to provide a legal and regulatory framework for the CCS industry in Nebraska, while laying a cleared path for ethanol producers to sell their value-added ethanol in Low Carbon Emission Standards markets, like the ones emerging in California and Washington. While all of that might sound nice, it comes with some hefty side effects like jeopardizing groundwater quality, and the forceable seizure of Nebraskan’s private property. This legislation is a prop for the dying ethanol industry and a threat to the health of Nebraska’s citizens, soils, waters, and air.