Nebraska ABC seeks bill for alcohol impact areas including Whiteclay

November 9, 2015

general mills
Each year nearly 4 million cans of beer are sold in Whiteclay, Nebraska, an unincorporated village with 14 residents and four stores that sell alcohol. Whiteclay is barely 400 yards away from the edge of Pine Ridge Reservation. Well-known for selling alcohol to Pine Ridge residents plagued by alcoholism, fetal alcohol syndrome, violent crime, and premature death, Whiteclay is again the focus of Nebraska authorities.

The state LCB hopes the legislature will revive a bill to allow the state and localities to create alcohol-impact zones, where bans on single-serving containers of alcohol could be adopted. New Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets, Attorney General Doug Peterson, and Liquor Control Commission (LCB) Chair Bob Batt are a few of the state officials engaging in a conversation about potential actions to start addressing the multitude of alcohol problems, harms, and dangers stemming from Whiteclay. Washington State originally pioneered the idea of alcohol impact areas, allowing for restrictions on liquor licenses and bans on single-sale cans. Alcohol industry lobbyists successfully shot down such a bill in the Nebraska legislature in 2012, calling it an unfair advantage for businesses outside the alcohol-impact area.

An alcohol-impact zone containing Whiteclay is one step among many that are urgently needed to address the overwhelming amounts of alcohol-related harm and death experienced by members of the Oglala-Sioux Nation. A successful bill could positively impact not only Whiteclay and Pine Ridge Reservation, but also other towns and areas in Nebraska as well.