Nebraska legislature discusses planning for climate change

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Dozens of people showed up in Lincoln on Monday to support a bill that would push the state to prepare for climate change.

Courtesy: MGN Online

Nebraska is one of the seven Plains States that haven't created a plan to deal with the local impact of more extreme weather.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks is responsible for introducing LB283, the goal of which is to asses the current impact of climate change on Nebraska and come up with a strategy for combatting adapting to it in the future.

"People are becoming keenly aware of the implication for Nebraska if we do not act. Agriculture, water, healthcare, energy regeneration and usage, ecosystems, forestry, rural and urban communities and commerce and industry are all sectors impacted by these extreme weather conditions," Pansing Brooks said.

Among those testifying, the majority of them pointed out that 33 states have already put an action plan on the books.

Martha Shulski is a climatologist at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She said it's Nebraska's turn to take action.

"When is the best time to plan for a change in climate? That time is now. It will behoove the health and well being of the citizens of Nebraska, our livelihoods, our health and our economy if we have a thorough assessment of climate change impacts and a path forward to lessening out contribution to future climate change," Shulski said.

A few people showed up to oppose the bill. They all supported the idea of a climate change action plan but did not like that the $250,000 cost was being covered by the Waste Reduction and Recycling Program.

"If passed, LB283 will result in another decrease in funds that support local recycling and waste management programs. I'm not opposed to the climate change study, but wonder why this program was selected to fund this bill," Linda Behrns, executive director of Keep Cass County Beautiful said.

Opponents asked the senators to consider other ways to fund the bill.