Nebraska Revised Statute 81-15,176

Chapter 81

81-15,176.

Environmental categories of projects; board; establish grant criteria.

(1) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the board shall establish environmental categories of projects eligible for funding by the trust. The board, after allowing opportunity for public comment, shall designate as categories those environmental goals which most affect the natural physical and biological environment in Nebraska, including the air, land, ground water and surface water, flora and fauna, prairies and forests, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and areas of aesthetic or scenic values. In designating environmental categories, the board shall attempt to focus on the areas which promise the greatest opportunities for effective action to achieve and preserve the future environmental quality in the state. The board shall establish categories for five-year periods beginning July 1, 1995. The board may establish annual priorities within the five-year categories. The board shall provide for public involvement in developing the categories for such five-year periods and any priorities within these categories, including, but not limited to, public meetings in each of the three congressional districts.

(2) The board shall establish criteria for determining the eligibility of projects for grant assistance, which criteria shall include the following:

(a) The grants shall not provide direct assistance to regulatory programs or to implement actions mandated by regulations except remediation;

(b) No more than sixty percent of grant allocations in any year shall assist remediation of soils or ground water, and no grants for this purpose shall occur unless all other available sources of funding are, in the opinion of the board, being substantially utilized;

(c) The grants shall not pay for projects which provide primarily private benefits or relieve private liability for environmental damage;

(d) The grants shall not pay for projects which have direct beneficiaries who could afford the costs of the benefits without experiencing serious financial hardship;

(e) The grants should assist those projects which offer the greatest environmental benefits relative to cost;

(f) The grants should assist those projects which provide clear and direct environmental benefits;

(g) The grants should assist those projects which will make a real contribution to achieving the board's environmental categories;

(h) The grants should assist those projects which offer the greatest public benefits; and

(i) The grants shall not pay for land or easements acquired without the full and express consent of the landowner.

(3) Until the first five-year categories become effective on July 1, 1995, the board shall observe the following categories for allocating grants:

(a) Critical habitat areas, including wetlands acquisition, preservation, and restoration and acquisition and easements of areas critical to rare or endangered species;

(b) Surface water quality, including actions to preserve lakes and streams from degradation;

(c) Ground water quality, including fostering best management practices as defined in section 46-706, actions to preserve ground water from degradation, and remediation of soils or ground water; and

(d) Development of recycling markets and reduction of solid waste volume and toxicity.

(4) The board may refine and clarify these initial categories.

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