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AltEn ethanol plant loses conditional use permit after unanimous vote

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 9:11 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - After a unanimous vote by the Village of Mead Board, the AltEn ethanol plant no longer has its conditional use permit. This comes as the ethanol plant has been cited for using pesticide-treated seed corn which can be harmful to people and animals.

Much of the debate Tuesday night was either to suspend or revoke the conditional use permit of the alt en ethanol plant.

But, after about 30 minutes of discussion, the board unanimously approved to revoke it.

Mead resident Jody Weible said, “[I’m] glad, but worried about how the cleanup will happen.”

Even without the conditional use permit anymore, people living in Mead said actions speak louder than words.

Weible said, “AltEn has been non-compliant for years. I can not see them doing anything.”

People living in Mead were for revoking the conditional use permit Tuesday night.

Attorney Steve Mossman, who represents AltEn, said suspending the license is better from a legal standpoint to continue allowing cleanup of the wastewater.

Members of the village board said suspension means there’s a possibility they’re fully operational again.

Mead resident John Schnell said, “We’d like to see a remediation process that removes toxic contaminated material. This isn’t waste. This is toxic waste.”

This is just one of several times the ethanol plant has been under fire in the last year. There’s currently a lawsuit from the Nebraska Attorney General’s office for violating environmental protection laws.

Gov. Ricketts also passed legislation this year prohibiting the use of treated seed corn.

Weible said she wants the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy also needs to take action.

“We’ll fine them. Do something. Make them accountable for once,” Weible said.

The only thing AltEn is legally allowed to do now is clean the wastewater.

The main question though is will they follow through.

People in Mead are happy about Tuesday’s decision but want to see more done. This could include bringing the Environmental Protection Agency.

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