In 2016, residents of Mead and the surrounding areas began to file complaints to the Department of Environment and Energy.
Davis and others, including Amy Svoboda, an environmental lawyer, claimed that the bill’s permissive language gave the director too much control over when to take action against polluters.
Svoboda also stated that the bill did not go far enough to define who would be considered responsible for cleanup purposes. He said it could be used against individual front-line employees and not against the entire company.
She suggested that the bill define “responsible party”, which would include the owners, operators, former owners and operators of a facility as well as any suppliers of any type of waste product.
According to this definition, any seed company that supplied AltEn with discarded seeds treated with pesticides may be held responsible.
The Nebraska Agri-Business Association wrote a letter opposing this bill. It stated that it supported Bostelman’s intent but was concerned about seed dealers, haulers, and individual growers being held responsible for cleanup costs.
Scott Merritt, president and CEO of the association, wrote: “Our concern is whether or not commercial sellers could be held responsible for the improper disposal products by users.”