|Sens. Christensen, Carlson trying to create water resources cash fund|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 02 February 2012 18:04|
Telephone conference report held on Jan. 31
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Senators Mark Christensen of Imperial and Tom Carlson of Holdrege have joined forces again that will create a water resources cash fund.
The pair, along with Sen. Chris Langemeier, have introduced LB 950 that would create a revolving loan fund for water projects in the state.
They want to fund the reserve with $8.7 million being repaid to the state by natural resources district in the Republican Basin.
The state lent the districts the money to pay for the purchase of surface water during the drought to keep the state in compliance with Kansas and the compact settlement.
The occupation tax created in Christensen’s 2007 water bill, LB 701, was intended as a funding source to repay the loan.
Christensen recalled during debate on the loan that many state senators felt this money would never be repaid.
However, Christensen said the NRDs are making good on their word by starting to pay back the loan.
He, Carlson and Langemeier want those loan repayments placed into this water resources cash fund to help fund water issues around the state. Christensen said it won’t be long before funds will be needed in the Platte River Basin and this is one way to provide it.
The fund would be under the control of the Department of Natural Resources.
The hearing for this bill is set for Feb. 15.
Flooding transfer bill
Christensen said he is still working to get LB 653 out of committee. It is a carryover bill from the 2011 session.
The bill seeks to allow the transfer of unappropriated water from one basin to another during a time of flooding.
With Nebraska getting hit hard by spring floods last year, Christensen feels the time for the bill is right.
Christensen said he’s making some language changes to insure that the transfer of unappropriated surface water creates no priority water rights. Any rights would be inferior to current and future surface water rights within the basin of origin.
He feels these changes will help get the bill out of committee and on to the floor for debate.
Christensen said a lot of good hearings occurred last week on bills aimed at correcting problems within the Health and Humans Services department.
He noted there have also been some heated hearings on the governor’s tax cut proposal.
Hearings will continue through February. After hearings are completed, the senators will resume full-time debate on the floor. Until then, the senators meet on the floor for just three hours each morning the body is in session.
Christensen said it feels like the body is moving at a rather slow pace. Last year’s pace was slow but this year it’s even slower, he noted. However, as the number of days gets shorter, he expects things to pick up, especially down the final stretch.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 18:05|