13-2002. Legislative findings and declarations.

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

(1) The rapidly rising volume of waste deposited by society threatens the capacity of existing and future landfills. The nature of waste disposal means that unknown quantities of potentially toxic and hazardous materials are being buried and pose a constant threat to the ground water supply. In addition, the nature of the waste and the disposal methods utilized allow the waste to remain basically inert for decades, if not centuries, without decomposition;

(2) Wastes filling Nebraska's landfills may at best represent a potential resource, but without proper management wastes are hazards to the environment and to the public health and welfare;

(3) The growing concern with ground water protection and the desire to avoid financial risks inherent in ground water contamination has caused many smaller landfills to close in favor of using higher-volume facilities. Larger operations allow for better ground water protection at a relatively lower and more manageable cost;

(4) The reduction of solid waste at the source and the recycling of reusable waste materials will reduce the flow of waste to landfills and increase the supply of reusable materials for the use of the public;

(5) Local governments are currently authorized to provide solid waste management services. As a group, counties and municipalities are best positioned to develop efficient solid waste management programs;

(6) An assignment of responsibility for integrated solid waste management should not prohibit governmental entities from procuring services from other units of governments or from private persons. It is the intent of the Legislature that natural resources districts, interlocal cooperative entities, tribal governments, and other statutory and voluntary regional organizations be encouraged to cooperatively provide financing or services to governmental entities responsible for solid waste management; and

(7) A variety of benefits results from a policy of integrated solid waste management, including the following environmental, economic, governmental, and public benefits:

(a) Not producing waste in the first instance is the most certain means for avoiding the widely recognized health and environmental damage associated with waste. Although waste reduction will never eliminate all wastes, to the extent that waste reduction is achieved it results in the most certain form of direct risk reduction;

(b) The government is better able to administer programs which offer a variety of benefits to industry and which reduce the overall cost of government involvement than to administer programs which offer few benefits to industry and require increasingly extensive, complex, and costly governmental actions; and

(c) Public confidence in environmental policies of the government is important for the effectiveness of these policies. Waste reduction and recycling pose no adverse environmental and public health effects and do not therefor lead to increased public concern. Waste reduction and recycling also increase the public confidence that government and industry are doing all that is possible to protect the environment and the public health and welfare.

Source:Laws 1992, LB 1257, ยง 2.