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This NebGuide describes the role and responsibilities of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Included are funding sources and environmental issues in Nebraska.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has the primary responsibility for protecting and improving the quality of Nebraska's air, land and water resources. Many of the programs administered by DEQ are mandated and funded--in whole or in part--by the federal government.
In discharging its responsibilities, DEQ receives input from the state Environmental Quality Council, a 16-member panel appointed by the governor. Fifteen of the 16 council members represent a specific industry or interest affected by or concerned with pollution control. The council is responsible for environmental rule-making through a system of review, revision, and approval or disapproval of all regulatory amendments and additions. DEQ also cooperates with other state agencies and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on matters of shared interest and responsibility.
Organized as a result of the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act of 1971, DEQ currently is divided into three program areas--air and waste management, water quality and low-level radioactive waste. These program areas are supported by an administrative/management services unit. In this NebGuide no attempt is made to touch on every phase of the department's activity. For more in-depth information refer to the department's annual report to the Nebraska Legislature.