Hughes' Views

NRC tours central and southwest Nebraska

A couple weeks ago, the members of the Natural Resources Committee were invited on a tour through central and southwest Nebraska. 

No senator on the committee lives west of Grand Island, except for me. I thought it would be beneficial for committee members to see firsthand some of the infrastructure and visit with some of the people affected by the bills we hear in the Natural Resources Committee. 

We started the tour in Grand Island at the Upper Prairie-Silver-Moores Creek Flood Control Project, which is being constructed by the Central Platte NRD. This is an important project that will take more than 1500 homes in Grand Island out of the FEMA flood plain. 

Our next stop was the NCORPE water augmentation project south of North Platte. The project, which ensures Nebraska remains in compliance with the Republican River Compact, will remain on the committee’s radar as two lawsuits on the property’s tax status will be in front of the state’s Court of Appeals within the next year.

Our visit to the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis was very educational for the committee. We learned about the programs available to students from Dean Ron Rosati and enjoyed viewing the impressive facilities. The quality and diversity of education and the opportunity to easily transition to a four-year college makes this institution vital to keeping young Nebraskans in the state.

The second day of our tour focused on oil wells and public power. Former Senator Tom Baker showed the group an oil well and an injection well around the area of Trenton and discussed the practices used to protect our drinking water. 

We visited Southwest Public Power District in Palisade, where Manager Curtis Kayton and his staff showed the committee how it uses technology to provide service more efficiently. 

The tour concluded with a visit to Gerald Gentlemen Station – Nebraska’s largest electric generating facility, which is owned by NPPD. It’s amazing the expertise and coordination that is required to ensure reliable power is available for us.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank Jim Bendfeldt and Lyndon Vogt,with the Central Platte NRD, Kristen Gottschalk with Nebraska Rural Electric Association, Shirley Higgins with NPPD, Curtis Kayton with Southwest Public Power District and several other NRD, NPPD, NCTA and rural electric folks for putting the tour together. 

We were impressed with the knowledge and dedication of the employees we met at each tour stop. Thank you for your work and for taking the time to educate us about what you do. 

I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. 

Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns you might have. My email address is dhughes@leg.ne.gov and my phone number is (402) 471-2805.

You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings and other Capitol events.

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

308-352-4311 (Phone)
308-352-4101 (Fax)

PO Box 67
327 Central Ave in Grant
Grant NE 69140