Nebraska's legal options limited in Kansas prairie smoke

April 12, 2017 - 4:24 am

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Lincoln attorney says that Nebraska has limited legal options regarding the smoke carried into the state from Kansas ranchers who annually burn tallgrass prairie.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that a group of ranchers in the Flint Hills burned upward of 2.3 million acres of North America's largest unplowed stretch of tallgrass prairie Saturday. The burning led to complaints from neighbors in Nebraska due to southerly winds carrying the smoke into the state.

Lincoln lawyer Steve Mossman, who specializes in agricultural and environmental law, doesn't think Nebraska could successfully sue Kansas authorities to regulate prescribed burns because courts are reluctant to force them to regulate against their will. He says a better option is cooperation and better communication between the two states.

Kansas usually burns the Flint Hills acres around March and April every year.

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