by Mark Hefflinger, Bold Alliance
TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels per day of dirty tarsands from Canada through hundreds of American homes, farms and ranches. It would cross the delicate Sandhills in Nebraska and put the critical Ogallala Aquifer and sacred Indigenous sites like the Ponca Trail of Tears at risk. Farmers, ranchers and indigenous Nations are fighting with everything they have to protect the land and their communities from eminent domain for private gain.
We refuse to allow the Keystone XL to put our land and water at risk. We already have the solutions we need, which is why we’re building solar panels directly in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The solar panels are being connected to Nebraska’s power grid, generating clean, renewable energy for the state – as opposed to a risky pipeline that would provide little benefit to Nebraskans. If Keystone XL is approved, TransCanada would have to tear down clean and locally produced energy to make way for its dirty tarsands pipeline.
The SOLAR XL project is organized by Bold Nebraska, with support from partners including 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International and CREDO (P.S. Thank you!)
Nebraska farmers Jim and Chris Carlson rejected TransCanada’s offer of $307,000 to sell their land for KXL. Jim told the company he can’t be bought because “my land is worth more to me and my family than any amount of money they could offer me.” The Carlson’s farm in Polk County was the site of the first SOLAR XL installation in July 2017.
The second SOLAR XL installation was erected on Diana and Terry “Stix” Steskal’s Prairierose Farm near Atkinson, Nebraska in September. Pumpkins and other vegetables for the local farmers market are grown right next to the solar panels.
The third installation is set for this summer at the home of Nebraska ranchers Bob and Nancy Allpress. Keystone XL would cross within 200 feet of the Allpress family’s home – as well as disturb a nearby legally protected bald eagle’s nest that the family has monitored. Any spill from the tarsands pipeline into the sandy soil on the Allpress farm would probably leak through to their drinking water source, just 14 feet below the surface.
We’re also talking with families inside the KXL route now to find the location for the fourth SOLAR XL installation and have some exciting plans in the works for a fifth location!
SOLAR XL is helping power farms and ranches with clean, renewable energy. We’re standing up to Trump and Big Oil, who want to trample property rights and risk our water all for their bottom line.
The SOLAR XL projects in the path of the pipeline will add to the resistance already in place along the pipeline route – including the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Spirit Camp, the Sacred Ponca corn planted inside the KXL route along the Ponca Trail of Tears and the solar-topped “#NoKXL Build Our Energy Barn” that Bold Nebraska constructed in 2013 thanks to small donors and volunteers.
Mark Hefflinger is the communications and digital director for the Bold Alliance. Bold was founded in 2010 by Jane Kleeb, who helped organize an unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Tribal Nations and citizens to stop the risky Keystone XL pipeline. Bold also supports a network of local small-but-mighty groups protecting land and water from risky fossil fuel pipelines, and working on issues like eminent domain, clean energy, and supporting small family farms. CREDO has been a partner with Bold since early in the Keystone XL pipeline fight, and provided support including a recent grant to help fund the Solar XL project. Since 2013, CREDO members have voted to donate more than $121,000 to the Bold Alliance. To learn more about who we fund and how we distribute our donations, visit credodonations.com.