In Nebraska, those who care about protecting the state’s waters from invasive species are trying to raise awareness and obtain funding to do battle. The legislature tasked the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission with the job, but provided no money.
As proposed in Legislative Bill 63, introduced by Sen. Ken Schliz, $1.2 million from taxes generated by motorboat sales or leases would fund a program to monitor and control aquatic invasive species.
“What it comes down to is that the bill's sponsors feel that this allocation of sales tax revenue on boats is the best way to get the measly $1.2 million to at least get some education programs going, start some inspections, and maybe get a few wash out-stations set up at some lakes around the state,” a source told Activist Angler.
Teeg Stouffer, executive director of Recycled Fish, was one of those testifying on behalf of the proposal in a committee hearing.
“There were a bunch of testimonies for our bill and none against it, so these Senators would really have to have an agenda to not pass it out of committee and onto the floor,” he said.
He also made another observation, one that troubles, but does not surprise me:
“When I walked into the hearing room at 1:05, I was the first one there for a 1:30 hearing. Perhaps 1 out of 10 seats wound up being filled in the room.
“Meanwhile, there was a sea of people clogging one hallway --- more than could fit in a hearing room. That’s the difference between a hearing on a gay adoption bill and a natural resources bill.
“The thing that's a shame to me is that most people will never have anything to do with gay adoption, but we all drink water, eat food, and power our homes. Zebra mussel infestations could decimate our irrigation systems and heap more hardship on our farmers, which translates to higher food prices. Zebra mussels could 10x our water bills, and 10x our power bills. Nobody knows. Nobody cares.”