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'This is a statewide issue:' Advocates give update on Mead ethanol plant cleanup

Posted at 7:38 PM, Jan 06, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nearly a year after being shut down, the impact of the Alt-En ethanol plant in Mead is still being researched and investigated.

On Thurdsay, the League of Women Voters invited Leesa Zalesky, a freelance journalist who has covered Alt-En extensively, to speak about the ongoing issues at their Lunch and Learn series.

Zalesky reviewed what has been done so far, and what still needs to be done.

Last year, the state shut down and filed a lawsuit against the plant after a frozen pipe burst and leaked wastewater into the area. Regulators also claimed that the plant failed to clean up pesticide-laced seed corn.

Now, seven years since the plant opened in 2015, Zalesky says nearby residents are still experiencing health issues, and there are reports of wildlife in the area becoming sick and dying.

UNMC continues its 10-year, $10 million study on the plant’s impact on the area.

And just a few days ago, Sen. Carol Blood introduced a bill that would modify the statute of limitations for exposure to chemicals.

LB 694 currently has a very limited description, but its summary states that it will "provide a statute of limitations for exposure to certain chemicals, prescription drugs, or medical devices."

Zalesky says more need to be done with cleanup overall.

“Anyone who tells you that the situation is under control, and that the right companies are in charge of the cleanup, well that person simply isn’t very well-informed.”

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