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Senators Say State Agencies 'Slow to Act' Against AltEn

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy knew facility was using pesticide-coated seeds to make ethanol in 2015

File photo
File photo

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy learned AltEn was using discarded seed coated with pesticides to make ethanol in 2015, and in 2018 discovered waste from the plant was heavily contaminated with chemicals harmful to pollinators, wildlife and — potentially — the people who lived nearby, reports KPVI.

The ethanol plant near Mead, NE, continued to solicit, receive and process an estimated 1 billion pounds of treated seed until earlier this year, when the department took action that forced the plant to close down, and later sued it for noncompliance.

State lawmakers last week blasted the department for a failure to act sooner in enforcing environmental protection regulations at AltEn, and considered legislation making seed companies liable for disposing of pesticide-treated products in ways that are deemed unsafe.

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