all black adidas gazelle Bill on NCORPE rights ‘closes Pandora’s box’
The hearing on Sen. Wednesday in front of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee.
Groene, of North Platte, said LB 1123 is very important for resolving the issues of separating land and water rights for the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement project.
“I want you to understand on LB 1123 that it frames in a very specific instance,” Groene said. “For an NRD augmentation project, they must buy the land first, create the augmentation and then they can sell the land.”
He said the land must be used for augmentation, which is moving water from one source to another to meet compact agreements. In the case of NCORPE, in particular, the agreement is to ensure Nebraska meets water flow obligations in the Republican and Platte rivers.
One concern raised is that someone could purchase the water rights and siphon that off into another state, thus jeopardizing the compact with Kansas.
“It frames in what (NCORPE) did, it closes Pandora’s box and nobody else can see what they did and come in and divert the water off the land,” Groene said. “It is a good bill.”
Section 2 of the bill says specifically: “After an augmentation project has been developed,
the owner or owners of such project may sell the overlying surface interest and retain and reserve the right to the ground water located beneath such land.”
Groene said it is important for people to understand the importance of speaking at the hearing.
“We’re a unicameral and we’re very unique in that we’re the only state legislature that has a public hearing on every bill,” Groene said. “Every citizen has a right to come and be heard. It is more open than city councils, school boards; citizens are actually listened to and they are asked questions.”
He added that the senators ask questions and reply.
“It is very democratic, and because we are a unicameral, the people are the second house and those senators do listen,” Groene said. “It might be just one sentence that somebody says that help (the senators) decide how to vote.”
The hearing is just the first step in the process to get the bill in front of the full Legislature.
“First the bill has to be introduced; then a hearing has to be held,” Groene said. “Then you have to have a majority of the senators in that committee to vote it out of committee to get it on the floor.”
Following the hearing, Groene said, he continues to pitch the bill to the committee, and he said he can’t emphasize enough how important the hearing on Wednesday is to the process.