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Area residents, experts host town hall on ethanol plant contamination

Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 02:46:29-04

MEAD, Neb. (KMTV) — On Monday, those living and working near Mead gathered to discuss the lingering effects of an ethanol plant that was ordered to shut down after extremely high pesticide rates were discovered.

AltEn Ethanol Plant in Mead has been closed since February, but the 85 tons of contaminated grain left behind still has those living and working nearby worried.

“I think it’s bad for the environment, bad for wildlife, bad for pets, and bad for people," said Paula Dyas, who lives north of Mead and whose pets became ill after eating grain.

The ethanol plant is already facing a lawsuit from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy after it used seeds with pesticide level 85 times the allowed limit.

Wastewater from the plant also spilled over into local waterways due to flooding in the area.

“To date, the lagoons are still full, the liners are still leaking and contamination is likely," Janece Molhoff, a resident of Ashland.

Residents say they want more answers about how the ethanol plant is affecting their soil, animals, and their health.

UNMC and Creighton University are planning to study just that.

The team of researchers say they hope to do a long-term study and are seeking funding through state and federal aid, as well as donors.

In the meantime, lawyer Dave Domina says the law needs to be changed when it comes to environmental research.

“One of the things that needs to be done in the United States is to take our research back from industry and put it in the hands of the people of the United States," Domina said.

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