Environmental Quality Council
The Environmental Quality Council (EQC) is a 17-member public body appointed by the Governor to represent specific interests and adopt regulations that are then administered by the NDEQ. Members are appointed to serve staggered 4-year terms. The EQC meets quarterly and holds public hearings on proposed regulations.
|2014 Meeting Dates|
|October 9||Lincoln - Tentative|
Draft and proposed rules and regulations to be considered by the Environmental Quality Council
Testifying at EQC Public Hearings
In addition to seeking comments from the public during the development of regulations, the NDEQ and EQC formally solicit comments from the public at public hearings on proposed regulations. The Nebraska Administrative Procedures Act governs these public hearings. Notice of the time, place, and subject matter of the hearing is published in a newspaper of general circulation in the State. The Secretary of State also maintains a docket on its webpage for pending regulatory proceedings.
Rules and Regulations
The public can offer comments at a public hearing in either of two ways. Neither way is exclusive and a person can do both. One way is by submitting comments in writing to the individual designated in the public notice to receive comments, usually the hearing officer. These written comments are provided to EQC members, marked as hearing exhibits and entered into the hearing record.
A second way to offer comments is by appearing and testifying in person at the EQC hearing. The EQC hearings are recorded, usually by a court reporter. Frequently, a testifier will also have prepared a written summary of his or her remarks or wish to have additional information made part of the hearing record. Any written statement and additional information provided to the hearing officer are marked as exhibits and entered into the hearing record. The NDEQ recommends that any person wishing to submit written materials at the public hearing bring 25 copies and hand them to the hearing officer for distribution to EQC members.
Final rules and regulations that have been adopted by the EQC, approved by the Attorney General and the Governor, and filed with the Secretary of State.
The Environmental Quality Council was established by the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act as the public body that adopts rules and regulations for the Department of Environmental Quality to administer. These rules and regulations include air, water and land quality standards in order to protect the environment, public health and welfare of the state. The Council also adopts regulations that govern environmental practices and responsibilities of various industries and other regulated entitles. In addition, the Governor appoints the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality based on candidates recommended by the Council.
The Council has 17 members who are appointed by the Governor to four-year terms. Appointments require legislative approval. Council members represent: the food manufacturing industry; conservation interests; the agricultural processing industry; the automobile or petroleum industry; the chemical industry; heavy industry; the power generating industry; crop production; labor; the livestock industry; county government; municipal government (two members, one of which represents cities not of the primary or metropolitan class); a professional engineer; a biologist; a representative of minority interests; and a doctor with knowledge about the health aspects of air, water and land pollution.
The Council holds at least two regular meetings each year. The Department of Environmental Quality publishes notice of these meetings together with an agenda and a description of proposed regulations to be considered. At these meetings, the Council holds public hearings on proposed regulations. Any interested person may submit written comments on the proposed regulations and testify at the public hearing. The Council considers these comments and testimony prior to making a decision on whether to adopt, modify or deny new state environmental regulations and amendments to existing regulations. The Council can also consider rule-making petitions initiated by citizens.
Although the Council is responsible for review and adoption of rules and regulations, it does not have involvement or oversight in the administrative functions or day-to-day responsibilities of the agency. The Director of the Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for administration of the department and the rules and regulations adopted by the Council.
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509