Man Sues Nebraska to Stop Traditional Release of Balloons

By D.J. Byrnes on May 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm
Scandal in Lincoln

"Littering in the ocean is bad" is a relatively safe take. Not too many people are willing to make a pro-littering argument, even if they're willing themselves to litter.

But this littering saga involves Nebraska football, and fans' traditions of buying balloons and simultaneously releasing them during Cornhusker games—a tradition that goes back at least 50 years. It also involves a lawsuit by an area man.


In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday, Randall Krause said the mass balloon release results in the open dumping of solid waste, which is prohibited under the [1976] Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Over the last half century, Krause alleges in his lawsuit, NU has promoted a balloon release during home Husker football games in the fall after the team scores its first points in which thousands of spectators take part. After the balloons are released, they are “carried away by the wind and forces of nature,” Krause said, traveling beyond university property and potentially landing hundreds or thousands of miles away.

“Husker balloons can even land in the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, the helium-filled latex rubber balloons retain elasticity for five months under water, and the ribbons aren't biodegradable at all, which is always bad news for wildlife.

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