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(Neb)-Brewer Asks NGPC To Reconsider R-Line Endorsement  Listen

By: John Axtell Posted at: 09/04/2019 11:02 AM
LINCOLN - 43rd District State Senator Tom Brewer of Gordon has asked the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to reconsider its 2014 endorsement of Nebraska Public Power District's proposed R-Line transmission line in the Sandhills.

     Nebraska law requires an endorsement from Game and Parks as well as the Public Service Commission for public power district projects, and the commission's 2014 approval included a provision making the R-Line subject to further review if there was new information about the project and its impact.

     Brewer told the commissioners last week at Fort Robinson State Park that the endorsement was based on limited and badly-dated information, and gave them what he called "mountains of new telemetry" and ecological studies proving  the line would have a major negative impact on the endangered whooping crane, whose migration route would cross the R-Line.

      Brewer accused NPPD of hiding facts and "putting its thumb on the scale" through its lobbyist, resulting in a "coverup top to bottom. He also accused the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service of transferring and threatening the jobs of 2 wildlife biologists whose studies support his whooping crane accusations.

      Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas says agency biologists are reviewing the 2014 decision and the information provided by Brewer. He expects their report to be ready for presentation to the commission next month.

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Commission Chairman Robert Allen says he and his fellow commissioners were impressed by the information and passion presented by Brewer, but are taking an open-mind approach on the R-Line controversy and eagerly await the results of the agency review.

      Douglas says a complicating factor is that definitions used by some agencies - such as the term "taking" of animals to describe losses to transmission lines and wind turbines - are different from the more-lax definitions in the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada and Mexico, which tops U-S law.


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