Costco breaks ground on Fremont chicken plant

From left, Gov. Pete Ricketts; Jonathan Luz, director of strategic planning and infrastructure development at Costco Wholesale; and Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman break ground for the Costco chicken processing plant on Monday, June 19.

Nebraskans who want to comment on air quality matters related to the operation of the planned Costco chicken processing plant soon will have an opportunity.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Christensen Field multipurpose building in Fremont.

The department is preparing to issue an air quality construction permit for the chicken facility, which includes a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant all on one site south of downtown Fremont.

A permit is required when a planned facility would surpass certain emissions thresholds, said Gary Buttermore, an engineer and Environmental Quality supervisor.

In preparing to issue this permit, he said, his department has studied the levels and types of pollutants the facility would emit. It has determined that the plant would not have what’s considered a “significant impact” on air quality beyond the plant property.

A public hearing is not required but can be held when one is requested. In this case, Buttermore said, plant operating company Lincoln Premium Poultry requested the hearing.

People can also submit comments in writing, through Thursday, by emailing, or writing to Gary Buttermore, Air Quality Division, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, NE 68509-8922.

Before the 5 p.m. hearing, an informal information session will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Christensen Field. The public can discuss the project one-on-one with department staff.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when the informal information session for the public would be held. 

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