Environmentalist Sues U of Nebraska Over Balloon Release During Cornhusker Games

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Balloons are released after the first Nebraska Cornhuskers score during their game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

An Omaha environmental activist has taken the University of Nebraska to court for its tradition of releasing hundreds of red balloons into the air during Cornhusker games.

Randall S. Krause filed suit this week in a federal court claiming that the traditional balloon release is a danger to wildlife and even human children.

“The mass release of Husker balloons puts virtually all species of birds, turtles, marine mammals and small animals … in harm’s way,” Krause’ lawsuit says.

The activist also speculates, without adding any evidence, that the balloons represent a choking hazard to children eight-years-old and younger. In the suit Krause charges that”children under 8 years can choke or suffocate on deflated Husker balloons if they put them in their mouths.”

The balloon release tradition goes back at least 60 years but Krause presented no actual evidence to prove that anything he charged in his lawsuit has actually happened.

Regardless, in his 14-page filing, Krause alleged that the balloon tradition essentially amounts to “the open dumping of solid waste,” which, he insists, violates environmental laws.

The activist insists the court should declare the tradition illegal and that the school be forced to stop releasing the balloons.

School officials have declined to comment on the filing.

Krause has a history–though not a successful one–of filing environmentalist lawsuits against government entities. His last suits were filed against the City of Omaha wherein he tried to get a court to force the city to stop using the solution it spreads on streets to de-ice them during winter storms. Krause claimed the solution was toxic to local wildlife. The suits were all thrown out of court.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com