American burying beetle returns to center stage in Nebraska

By Michael Doyle | 02/28/2024 01:43 PM EST

A 226-mile transmission line would cut across habitat occupied by the threatened beetle.

An American burying beetle rests on a plant

An American burying beetle in Rock Island, Rhode Island. Fish and Wildlife Service/AP

The Fish and Wildlife Service is once more digging through rocky terrain as it examines how the threatened American burying beetle might coexist with a long-debated Nebraska transmission line project.

With two in-person public hearings this week, starting Tuesday night at the Prairie Arts Center in North Platte, Nebraska, the federal agency will be getting an earful over the proposed transmission line known as the R-Project.

The public hearings, and an accompanying public comment period that runs through April 9, will inform the FWS’s development of a revised habitat conservation plan for the transmission line project. This will entail, among other things, conditions that will allow the project to cause the “incidental take” — or accidental death or disturbance — of the beetle that’s otherwise protected by the Endangered Species Act.
public comment period


It’s a project that has excited strong opinions for years, and continues to do so.