Policy

“It’s a Win-Win”; The Growing Climate Solutions Act, a Bill for Farmers

“It’s a Win-Win”; The Growing Climate Solutions Act, a Bill for Farmers

— The Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA) was reintroduced to the Senate yesterday in a bipartisan effort to establish nationwide protocols to help farmers and ranchers adopt sustainable management practices while reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

Lincoln Climate Action Plan

This plan has passed! 

Birds are harbingers of change. Often we think of their signals of change as the arrival of dawn or the changing of the seasons. Unfortunately, we know that through recent studies from Cornell University that as many as 3 billion birds have been lost in the last 50 years, including a 53% decline in grassland birds. This is largely due to habitat loss from land-use changes driven by development—urban and rural—and the changing climate.

The actions and strategies of the Climate Action Plan align with many key educational and conservation priorities and actions of Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, actions across the state and the Audubon network including appropriately sited renewable energy technology such as solar and wind power, and maximizing natural climate solutions such as increased native plant use by the city on public and private land. These are just a few of the specific strategies and actions that are in the plan which we support comprehensively.

We appreciate the leadership of the city and the community leaders that helped develop this critical step in positioning Lincoln and Lancaster County to address our changing climate. The adoption and implementation of this plan will lay the groundwork for our community to continue to thrive as we face these new challenges. Audubon's Spring Creek Prairie looks forward to assisting with the implementation of this plan and continuing to create a world where birds and people can thrive together.

Policy Statements

Audubon Nebraska's Policy Statements

Our positions on current bills in the Nebraska legislature

LB507 - Prohibit the use of treated seed corn in the production of agricultural ethyl alcohol in certain circumstances

This bill passed!

The National Audubon Society considers climate change to be a significant threat to birds and therefore supports ethanol production as one of many types of renewable energy. As with all energy production, generation facilities must be able to properly dispose of waste products and do so in a manner that prevents environmental contamination. Very few facilities in the nation use treated corn or corn treated with insecticides, and doing so presents a significant and unnecessary disposal challenge that threatens wildlife.

LB222 – Change provisions relating to certain in lieu of tax payments made by the Game and Parks Commission

This bill was killed by committee! 

The changes proposed in this bill are unnecessary. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission already pays an in lieu of tax payment on wildlife lands that have been acquired since 1977. Taxes are being paid the same as they would be if the land was in private ownership. The existing system is straight forward to apply because the value is determined by the county assessor at the time of acquisition. By adding the language of “highest and best use”, it would add significant complexity, inconsistency, and undue administrative burden annually based on what a potential highest use could be across counties.

Perhaps more important and immediate, the proposed legislation would divert funds needed to manage and restore our natural resources on both public and private land. Restoring and maintaining natural areas and habitat statewide is a public service and beneficial to all Nebraskans.

LB576 - Appropriate funds to the University of Nebraska

Nebraska has amazing natural resources, and it is our responsibility to do our part so these resources can be enjoyed by future generations.  The National Audubon Society’s recent analysis found that two-thirds of North America’s birds are vulnerable to extinction if we do not reduce carbon emissions. Examples of highly vulnerable species in Nebraska include the iconic Mountain Bluebird and Eastern Meadowlark.

The University System in Nebraska has some of the best leading scientists for changing climate challenges and can invigorate the diverse sectors needed to update the 2014 Assessing Climate change report.

LB449 - Appropriate funds to the Department of Environment and Energy

Nationally, low-income households spend a larger portion of their income on home energy costs which is referred to as the “energy burden”. It is imperative that consideration is given to those that face disproportionate energy burdens, and implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures helps reduce consumption of electricity and other fuels. In neighboring states, funding energy efficiency audits and funding weatherization improvements have been found to significantly reduce energy generation needs and has proved to be cost effective. LB449 takes a practical approach so low-income families and individuals can seek assistance to reduce their utilities through weatherization improvements.

LB279 - Authorize certain activities that are eligible for assistance from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund

The National Audubon Society considers climate change to be a significant threat to birds and therefore supports renewable energy development. As solar technology and other energy improvements become widely available, it is imperative that consideration is given to those that face disproportionate energy burdens and that the ability to advance renewable energy and increase energy efficiency be equitably distributed. LB279 takes a practical approach so low-income families and individuals can seek assistance to reduce their utilities through weatherization, installation of solar, and other energy improvements.

LB120 - Prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity

Protecting and conserving nature and the environment transcends political, cultural, and social boundaries. Respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people of all backgrounds, lifestyles, gender identities and perspectives is of fundamental importance to develop solutions to shape a healthier, more vibrant future for us all and our world.

Discrimination is wrong, and although many agree with this fundamental truth, society resists change and often requires explicit reasons to take corrective action. The existing legislation doesn’t address sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, but with the additional language proposed in LB120, it will bring Nebraska one important step closer toward equitable treatment, equitable opportunities, and ensure Nebraska is “The Good Life” for all Nebraskans.

LB483 – Provide for a climate change study and action plan

Nebraska is falling behind while other states take action. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 33 states have released a climate action plan or are in the process of developing one. These plans reflect the individual characteristics of each state’s economy, resources, and political structure provide different opportunities for addressing climate change.

LB483 takes a fresh and practical approach for Nebraska. It proposes to take an evidence-based, data-driven, strategic approach to an action plan. It calls for a broad range of risk assessments, baselines, and benchmarks and seeks to understand the impacts on our economy, agriculture, water resources, public health, and others. It outlines a practical process that will result in solutions and opportunities in Nebraska.