MEDIA ALERT: New Information Should Bring Costco Poultry Plant Permits to a Halt

NDEQ public meeting to shine light on flawed process for massive Fremont poultry operation; 4-mile pipeline goes unmentioned; construction variance request filed before air permit issued

WHAT: A public hearing by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) on the controversial pending air permit application for Costco-Lincoln Premium Poultry’s (LPP) proposed industrial chicken operation. The meeting will include public testimony & written submissions from community members opposed to the flawed process & risks to local residents and the City of Fremont.

WHEN:       Tuesday, August 8, 2017 | 5:00 P.M. CT

WHERE:     Christensen Field multi-purpose building | 16 Ridge Road Drive, Fremont, NE 68025

WHO:         Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (Air Quality Division), Nebraska Communities United – Representing concerned citizens of Fremont

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When the Governor broke ground on the mega-chicken plant was the City of Fremont breaking our trust?

On June 19th, Nebraska Governor Ricketts turned a shovel and made glowing comments on the false-fact that a mammoth Costco poultry operation was coming to Fremont. The 2-million bird per-week sprawling facility is planned for Fremont by city leaders — but that does not mean it should happen. What many residents, NDEQ employees and the Governor, himself, may not have known was that some state permits for the construction work, infrastructure upgrades, and water and air quality assurance are not approved or in place. The City of Fremont would like residents to believe Costco’s operation is a done deal. It is not.

The project includes the following missteps & flaws in need of immediate public attention & government action:

  • Building without an air permit: Costco/LPP is attempting to bypass the public and has already applied for a construction variance to begin building before an air permit is issued. This in spite of the fact that the public process and comment period is still open, and a NDEQ hearing is to be held. Yet they want to move forward without us.
  • Flaw in the city’s construction permit: The City of Fremont officials recently passed a resolution to move the operation’s industrial-sized animal wastewater lagoon to another location, yet the city only has a NDEQ permit for the initial location. No public process has been started to confirm this move or approve of the new location. They’re going it without the correct permit from NDEQ.
  • A 4-mile pipeline?: With the lagoon moved, a 4-mile pipeline is now necessary to transport the tons of animal rendering byproducts produced at the operation between the Costco/LPP operation and the pretreatment lagoon. How will this work? The city has not informed NDEQ or taxpayers on the cost and location of this new pipeline, or who will be affected and when their plan will be unveiled.

NDEQ has an important job to do: Protect the citizens of Nebraska. It has regulations, procedures and process that need to be followed to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of all are defended by the state. The current issues involving the proposed new Costco poultry operation tell us that NDEQ cannot do its job without all the information. Information every resident also needs in order to make an informed decision on the future of Fremont.

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Media contacts

Randy Ruppert | Nebraska Communities United — nebraskacommunitiesunited@gmail.com | 402-936-4870

Laura Krebsbach | SRAP — laurak@sraproject.org | 402-770-7731