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The Public Pulse: Dangerous chemical debris; Do homework on bills; More thoughts on Pillen

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Chemical questions

Nebraskans deserve a full investigation into what resulted in dangerous chemical debris impacting our neighbors by Mead. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality chose to label AltEn’s decision to use chemically-treated seeds to make ethanol a “minor” change, one not requiring public notice. Was there no one involved in the process of approving AltEn’s permit who thought it was worth letting Nebraskans know it would be using chemically-treated seeds provided by seed companies? Companies giving away the seed presumably because they’d rather not deal with the toxic aftermath or expense of destroying the seeds themselves?

With such financial incentive to make ethanol out of free seed, Nebraskans needed someone to seriously evaluate whether risks were being minimized. AltEn’s toxic residual corn product couldn’t be fed to livestock, so a pile reportedly large enough to fill a football-field 150-feet deep still waits to be dealt with.

Instead of implementing what environmental disasters have taught about how best to protect people, what’s put into practice often seems to protect polluters and their enablers, leaving us with the mess.

From the OWH article, “Researchers detect insecticides in water, home near troubled Nebraska ethanol plant,” “Water tests also show that the chemicals are degrading in water, which might sound like a good thing. However, Bell and Rogan said, the byproducts of that degradation are highly toxic, and by breaking into multiple chemicals, they become harder to track.”

A Jan. 20, 2021 Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/10/mead-nebraska-ethanol-plant-pollution-danger) quotes a Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy employee, who said, regarding officials at AltEn, that they were “hard-working people trying to make a living.” OK, fine, but then who is watching out for all the hard-working people trying to make a living who are not involved in the release of harmful chemicals?

Tammy Hansen Snell, Omaha

Heart-touching titles

Andrew Adams (“Bacon’s record”) complained in his Pulse letter that Don Bacon voted against several bills that would appear to benefit veterans, senior citizens, women’s rights, etc. I say “would appear to benefit” because all politicians like to attach heart-touching titles to various bills, but then add addendums completely unrelated to the main (titled) bill that may also include some very negative and pricey components. Both parties are guilty of these shenanigans. So before you vote, do your homework and ask why a congressperson or senator voted “yes” or “no” for a particular bill and don’t be fooled by the heart-touching title of the bill.

Dan Hedrick, Omaha

Yes to Pillen

Well done, Chuck Chevalier (“Pillen’s issues”). I think you did a fair job of framing Jim Pillen’s positions.

Allow me to recap. Yes, Jim may introduce a cap to control increased school spending. Yes, Jim would like to more equitably disperse state aid to schools. Yes, Jim prefers “parent school choice.” Yes, Jim’s goal is to provide substantial property tax relief. Yes, Jim intends to improve major overcrowding of our correctional systems.

And yes, Jim supports changes to improve school curriculums; i.e., eliminate or prevent teaching critical race theory, allowing prayer back into our schools.

My problem with your expose? You attempted to twist all of these positions into a negative.

And to Nancy Dickinson (“Face the voters”), please don’t tell me at this stage of the game, voters need to witness a one- to two-hour debate in order to understand and arrive at their “best candidate” decision. An informed voter would have arrived at a conclusion during the many weeks long campaign events.

Jim Pillen emulates our Nebraska moniker: “Nebraska, the Good Life.”

Hank Krings, Columbus

Voting quandary

Initially unsure of my gubernatorial primary vote for different reasons, I was disgusted that Jim Pillen refused to participate in the debates. Charles Herbster got my vote because he had the fortitude to do so. I was also wary of the way Gov. Pete Ricketts — whom I have supported in the past — went over the top in support of Pillen. Pillen will not get my vote and Ricketts has lost my favor.

Carol Blood is a fine person, I’m sure. However, my vote will not be cast for her. What a quandary. We need to do better, Nebraska.

Rick VanRoy, Omaha

OWH Public Pulse August 2022

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Pulse writer praises Creighton Prep for setting their own policy on gender identity.

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Pulse writer questions why Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen refuses to debate.

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Pulse writer asks how is student loan forgiveness fair to those who worked to pay for their education?

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Pulse writer says Congressman Don Bacon votes against the interests of NE-02.

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Pulse writer questions the idea of roundabouts on Farnam.

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Questioning the roundabouts

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Pulse writer offers suggestions for Husker fans headed to Ireland.

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Pulse writers weigh in on OPPD continuing to burn coal at their North Omaha Station plant for at least three more years.

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Pulse writers continue to weigh in on Jim Pillen refusing to debate.

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Pulse writer would like Congress to fairly compensate disabled veterans.

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Pulse writers give their opinions on Jim Pillen breaking with at least 50 years of tradition by refusing to participate in a gubernatorial candidate debate.

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Pulse writer challenges readers to give ORBT a try.

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Pulse writer asks who has the ultimate right to life, mother or baby?

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Pulse writer raves about the Carne y Arena exhibition at the KANEKO. 

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Pulse writers give their thoughts on the current events surrounding the former president.

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Pulse writer reminisces on summer memories at Peony Park.

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Pulse writers give differing views on Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon's record.

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Pulse writer praises the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall.

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The streetcar project should be voted on by the people of Omaha, a Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer says gubernatorial candidate Carol Blood has worked on behalf of Nebraskans for years.

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Pulse writer says Nebraska's voter ID push violates the 24th Amendment and hurts elderly voters.

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Pulse writer says 

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The CHIPs Bill would add roughly $54 billion in new spending each year over the next 5 years, Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer says that it's imperative we have lawmakers who are able to draw on their valuable military experience to ensure the United States is able to combat tyranny.

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Don Bacon has worked across the aisle to find common-sense solutions to climate change, Pulse writer says.

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Changes to the downtown Papillion crosswalk still leaves pedestrians at risk, Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer's express their thoughts on Representative Bacon's votes on the “Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022” and “Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022.”

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