Senator Brewer’s Weekly Update


By Senator Tom Brewer

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently announced that is seeking Public Comment on the new and improved Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the R-Project powerline. I strongly encourage all Nebraskans to oppose this powerline and contact their Public Power board member. The tragic and unnecessary destruction of the most environmentally sensitive and beautiful part of Nebraska is the wrong choice.

The letter I received from USFWS announced three public meetings about the R-Project. One in North Platte on Tuesday the 27th of February at 5:00pm. The next meeting is scheduled for Broken Bow. It’s on Thursday the 29th at 1:00pm. The last meeting is a “virtual” meeting on line.

This is unacceptable. Scheduling public meetings, in towns far from the route of the power line, at 1:00pm in the middle of the work week, is deliberately discouraging the public from participating. Yesterday I delivered a letter to Mr. Tom Kent, CEO of NPPD, asking for a written explanation of this situation, and urging him to ask the US Fish and Wildlife Service to address this situation.

When I first learned of the R-Project in 2017, I felt like I had walked into the theater halfway through the movie. All of the key decisions about the route of the line had already been made. In minutes from a 2012 meeting, I learned NPPD had ignored the wishes of every environmental group in Nebraska and chose the most destructive route because it best facilitated the NINE huge wind energy projects planned for the Sandhills. Routes using existing utility corridors, where power lines already existed, were rejected. I have provided NPPD with a USFWS study that clearly shows the R-project power line will cause “take” of the endangered Whooping Crane. In spite of a study in NPPD’s own environmental impact statement, NPPD continues to refuse to apply for an incidental take permit for the Whooping Cranes. I am baffled by this.

In 2019, a lawsuit was successful in stopping this impending disaster. Unfortunately, the two wealthy land owners who could afford to hire a great lawyer have moved out of Nebraska. Without money for lawsuits, the only thing standing between the tragic destruction of a huge swath of Nebraska is some very determined ranch families and a term-limited state senator and his staff. I will fight this until my last day in office because ruining the most beautiful part of Nebraska so a handful of get-rich-quick investors can make money covering the Sandhills in wind turbines is wrong for Nebraska.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions, or concerns. Email me at, mail a letter to Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1423, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, or call us at (402) 471-2628.