Monday Press Briefing From Governor Ricketts

LINCOLN – Nebraska Governor, Pete Ricketts hosted his first press briefing of the week updating Nebraskans on the State’s work to support coronavirus vaccinations and help Nebraskans get back to a more normal life along with Attorney General Doug Peterson filing a complaint against an ethanol plan in Mead.

Governor Ricketts first started his press briefing by stating Monday was the 154th anniversary of Andrew Johnson signing the proclamation making Nebraska a state during its Statehood Day. The past couple of years have been pretty tough in the state from the 2019 floods and the one-year anniversary approaching of the first COVID-19 case in the state.

“But it’s also a great time to reflect upon what we’re blessed with here in the state of Nebraska,” said Ricketts. “We’ve seen people demonstrate that characteristic Nebraska grit, resiliency, determination, generosity and we have a lot to be thankful for.”

Contact your local health department, visit vaccinate.ne.gov or call 833-998-2275 to sign-up for the COVID vaccine.

As of Monday, Nebraska was 30th of all vaccines used being 79%, #21 in percent of people who’ve received first dose (16%); #17 for second dose (over 9%). Test Nebraska has also delivered 692,000 tests.

“We have 38% of our hospital beds available, 37% of our ICU beds and 79% of our ventilators available,” Ricketts added. “Of course, that’s a great reminder when you go out, we got to continue to use the tools we’ve been given to slow the spread of the virus.”

As of Monday, there were 158 hospitalizations which is some of the lowest numbers since the end of July, early August of 2020.

The remainder of the press briefing focused on an announcement from Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson. This was in regard to a 97-page complaint being filed in Saunders County District Court against AltEn an ethanol plant in Mead.

The complaint alleges violations of the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), violations of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act (ISWMA) and multiple violations of permit conditions and includes violations of an order from the Director of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE).

The Complaint seeks proper disposal of the contaminated byproducts (distillers grains and wastewater); compliance with State statutes, their permit conditions and the order of the Director and civil penalties (NEPA authorizes $10,000 per day per violation, subject to the court’s discretion).

Jim Macy, Director of NDEE discussed more on the court filing and answered questions regarding concerns surrounding the Mead plant.

One more press briefing will close out the week with an expected topic of coronavirus vaccinations on Wednesday, March 3 at 10 a.m.

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