We are now more than a third of the way to the 2022 legislative session. This week, we will complete hearings on the 24 bills referred to the Natural Resources Committee. I want to highlight some of the bills that went through hearings last week.
LB1015, introduced by President Hilgers at the request of Governor Ricketts, the bill exercises Nebraska’s water rights by giving the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) full authority to develop, construct, and operate the Perkins County Canal Project. This would secure Nebraska’s water supply from the South Platte River as part of the 1923 South Platte Compact signed with Colorado and ensure Nebraska’s continued access to water, as guaranteed by the compact.
LB1023, also presented by Speaker Hilgers, is the result of the work of the Legislative Assembly Select Committee on Tourism and Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability (STAR WARS), of which I am a member . The bill would authorize several water-related projects, including flood control measures in the Wahoo Creek watershed and the construction of jetties west of Schuyler along the Platte River.
The bill also includes projects to expand water access and recreational opportunities at Lake McConaughy, the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, and an events center and lodge at Lake McConaughy. State of Niobrara. These projects are essential to protecting Nebraska’s water resources, controlling flooding, and creating additional economic growth.
I submitted LB1099, to establish a hydrogen concentrator industry task force to submit a proposal to the federal government to receive a grant to establish a regional clean hydrogen concentrator. There are currently $8 billion in federal grants to establish four regional hydrogen centers across the United States. Nebraska both meets the criteria to be selected as a potential location due to existing rail infrastructure and a diverse power generation mix and is strategically located in the United States to transport clean hydrogen. This funding would bring high-quality jobs to Nebraska and stimulate the economy.
Working to expand broadband access in Nebraska continues to be one of my top priorities in the Legislative Assembly. Another bill of mine, LB914, would direct the Public Service Commission (PSC) to create a Nebraska Location Fabric Broadband Map that would identify broadband availability and quality of service statewide. Information provided by the map includes the type of Internet services available, the number of entities providing services in an area, and planned broadband infrastructure projects. Having this type of map would ensure that federal, state, and grant funds are directed where they are needed most.
I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my Legislation Office at 402-471-2719 or [email protected]