The purpose of the Environmental Assistance Division is to serve the regulated community and the public by providing assistance and coordinating and providing outreach activities. The division consists of several programs: Small Business and Public Assistance, SARA Title III – Community Right-To-Know, Nebraska Environmental Partnerships (NEP), Release Assessment and Homeland Security. By centralizing these programs, the division brings greater focus to the department’s overall assistance and outreach efforts and provides a better understanding of the department’s regulations and environmental issues.
Environmental Assistance Division
Over the last year the programs within the Environmental Assistance Division have devoted efforts to a number of significant projects. A short summary of some of those efforts follow.
- The Nebraska Environmental Partnerships program has continued to explain and provide information on Nebraska’s efforts to assist small communities to many national entities who are interested in our program. Additionally, a strategic plan has been drafted that will enable us to provide assistance in a more holistic manner.
- The Small Business and Public Assistance Program, and particularly the One-Stop Permit Assistance program contained therein, has devoted a great deal of time to the ethanol industry. A number of on-site visits have occurred and the SBAP has coordinated the preparation of a number of assistance documents. The Division has also been active in the continued promotion of the establishment and implementation of Environmental Management Systems.
- The Community Right-to-Know program, with considerable assistance from the Department’s Information Technology Division, has implemented a system enabling facilities subject to Community Right to Know reporting regulations to file required reports on-line. Subsequently more time has been devoted to working with Local Emergency Planning Committees. Additionally, the program has played a much larger role in the Department’s Homeland Security efforts.
- The Release Assessment program has been intimately involved in enhancing the Department’s ability to respond to releases into the environment by securing equipment and additional training for the Department’s Immediate Response Team. The Release Assessment program also played a key role in the Department’s response to the severe storms that hit Lancaster, Gage, and Saline counties in May.
- The Division continues to coordinate environmental partnership efforts with the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD.) The overall objective of the Partnership is to capitalize on the strengths of each organization and make strides toward a sustainable Nebraska. Like last year, a primary focus of attention has been the promotion of methane generation from livestock facilities. The Partnership also sponsored the first conference between energy producers and the environmental agency on various items of mutual interest including climate change. Opening, and improving upon, the dialogue between the energy producers and the Department is particularly significant.
- Like several programs within the Department, the Environmental Assistance Division has been examining the federal Brownfields program, which is intended to restore blighted and contaminated areas of the country to productive use. Typically most Brownfield resources are devoted to heavily industrialized areas. A team from within the Department has been examining the program with the intention of capitalizing on Brownfield resources for Nebraska entities, particularly small communities.
- Finally the Division has been active in the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council, an organization devoted to the introduction of innovative technologies that will increase the speed, and reduce the cost of addressing various types of environmental contamination.
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509