Newswire

NDNR Schedules May 23 Public Hearing for Platte to Republican Diversion

The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) has scheduled a public hearing for the Platte River to Republican River Transbasin Diversion project. The meeting will be held Thursday, May 23 at 8:30 a.m. in the Bertrand Community Building, 405 Nelson Street, Bertrand, Neb. For full information, see the official public notice

For background, in mid-2018, The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (CNPPID) and the Platte Republican Diversion (PRD) Interlocal Agreement Partners (multiple NRDs that encompass the Republican River) submitted an application to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources that would let them transfer water from the Platte River to the Republican River. The application specified that this transfer would happen only if there was extra water available after all other users had taken their portion. 

When the comment period closed in August 2018, seven objections were filed for the plan:  

  1. North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD). 
  2. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). 
  3. Cozad Ditch Company. 
  4. Loup River Public Power District
  5. Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD). 
  6. Lower Loup Natural Resources District (LLNRD); and  
  7. Audubon Society dba Audubon Nebraska (now merged with Dakotas into Audubon Great Plains).  

The application objections made it all the way to the Nebraska Supreme Court, where the case was dismissed in October 2023 for lack of standing because the objectors were unable to show there was measurable harm. For details about the case proceedings, please see our previous Newswire.  

While the issue ran through the courts, our members considered the issue, and the effect it would have on Nebraska agriculture. They decided that the benefits created from the increased power generation and the increased water availability for those in the Republican River Basin outweighed the concerns raised. They enacted a policy that states, “Nebraska Farm Bureau supports Platte River diversion of excess flows to the Republican River to fulfill the Republican River Compact.”  

With the lack of standing affirmed, the issue was handed back to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources under Director Tom Riley. The public meeting scheduled for next Thursday will allow the public to have input about the decision on the project. After the meeting, Director Riley will be deciding whether to allow the first ever interbasin transfer of water. Based on our policy seen above, created by our members, Nebraska Farm Bureau submitted comments in support of the project. 

You may find more information about the project on the official webpage. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Kole Pederson, director of environmental & regulatory affairs, at kolep@nefb.org

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