Tribes, Landowners, and Climate Groups Expand Campaign to Build Solar Inside Keystone XL Pipeline Route

Tribes, Landowners, and Climate Groups Expand Campaign to Build Solar Inside Keystone XL Pipeline Route

Crowdfunding will support solar panel installations in South Dakota and Nebraska ahead of TransCanada’s plans for clear-cutting this Fall.

Lower Brule, South Dakota – (RealEstateRama) — An Indigenous-led coalition of pipeline fighters launched the next phase of their campaign, called “Solar XL,” to install solar panels along the route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. The solar panels, to be installed in Nebraska and South Dakota, will help power the homes, farms, and Indigenous spirit camps of communities resisting the pipeline. This clean & renewable energy project stands in contrast to the threat posed by Keystone XL to land and water, Indigenous rights, and the climate. The coalition behind the Solar XL campaign includes the Indigenous Environmental Network, Native Organizers Alliance, Brave Heart Society, Dakota Rural Action, Bold Nebraska, and 350.org. The campaign will be supported through crowdfunding.

View the fundraising campaign online: https://nokxlpromise.org/solarxl/

Download photos of previous solar installations for use by media with attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/albums/72157689237546005

This effort builds upon the Solar XL campaign that supported solar installations in Nebraska last summer, on land that farmers and ranchers in the state would’ve been forced to give up to TransCanada. Shortly after in November of last year, Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved an alternate route for Keystone XL, which tribes, farmers, and ranchers continue to challenge in court. These new solar installations along the pipeline’s alternate route will include additional solar arrays on Nebraska farmland and mobile solar units built on unceded Indigenous territory near the Yankton Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations in South Dakota.

The Keystone XL pipeline continues to face challenges in court, including an appeal filed by Nebraska tribes and landowners against the PSC decision and a federal lawsuit against Trump’s “presidential permit” for the project. Nearly 17,000 people have also signed the “Promise to Protect” and committed to join future action along the Keystone XL pipeline route when called upon by Indigenous leaders. Though TransCanada has yet to announce a final investor decision on Keystone XL, the pipeline company is expected to begin clear-cutting this Fall to prepare for construction in 2019. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil.

The solar arrays and mobile solar units built through Solar XL will not only provide renewable energy and demonstrate the fossil-free world we need, they will be part of resistance efforts as signers of the “Promise to Protect” rise up to defend them if necessary. Solar energy has been a powerful tool in Native-led efforts to put renewable energy solutions in the path of the problem, from the Lubicon Solar Project near Alberta’s tar sands, to the solar-powered ‘tiny homes’in the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia, to the Lakota Solar Enterprise bringing clean energy sovereignty to Indian country. If TransCanada moves forward with construction of Keystone XL, thousands of people are ready to defend the renewable solar energy built in its path.

QUOTE SHEET:

Judith LeBlanc (Caddo), Director, Native Organizers Alliance, a national Native organizing and training network: “Our future depends on if we choose to live in harmony and balance with Mother Earth. Projects like Solar XL, built with grassroots financial support and owned by Indigenous communities and family farmers, are our best hope for a future of sustainable energy that delivers us from dependence on fossil fuels and the harm caused by extractive industries.”

Mark Hefflinger, Communications Director for Bold Alliance: “We’re excited to launch the next phase of Solar XL, and continue to build our clean energy future while standing together to protect our water and land. The new Solar XL installations in Nebraska and South Dakota add to the existing resistance in the path of KXL that also includes the Ponca sacred corn planted inside the route along the historic “Trail of Tears,” the #NoKXL Solar Energy Barn, and Rosebud Sioux Spirit Camp in South Dakota.”

Lewis Grassrope, Wiconi un Tipi Camp in Lower Brule, South Dakota: “As caretakers of this world, maintaining balance for the generations to come is our responsibility. Solar XL is an effort to support that balance, protecting the land and water by building renewable energy alternatives to dirty fossil fuels. It’s time to start looking at and preparing for the future, rather than destroying the only world we have.”

Rick Bell, chair of Dakota Rural Action’s Black Hills Chapter and the Community Energy Development Committee: “The KXL pipeline represents our persistent reliance on fossil fuels that we know is bad for the environment as well as people’s health, etc.  It doesn’t even make economic sense when the full long-term negative effects are taken into account. Therefore DRA is participating in this effort to install solar systems along the path of the KXL pipeline as a way of demonstrating our commitment to renewable energy and showing that it is a viable alternative rather than continuing to depend on fossil fuels for our energy needs.”

Faith Spotted Eagle, member of the Yankton Sioux Nation and Brave Heart Society: “The powerful thing about alliances for mother earth is when they create a space to unlearn fear and to relearn leadership. This was true at Standing Rock, and Solar XL is another chance to learn and build a shining example of the future we want. Solar energy is one of the great powers of the universe — it is constantly present, with a low carbon footprint that respects the earth. Because each of us are players in the survival our planet, our efforts to fight Keystone XL combines the power of solar with the power of the people.”

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network: “In the fight against dirty tar sands oil from crossing Indigenous treaty lands, we must also take moments to highlight the things we are fighting for. That is what SolarXL is about. We will not only build renewable energy in America’s breadbasket, on Indigenous lands for Indigenous people, demonstrating the goals of a just transition towards sustainable energy, but we will build it in the face of the Keystone XL pipeline. Now’s the time to look ahead to a sustainable planet.”

Joye Braun, leader of the Wakpa Waste Camp at the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota: “Building Solar XL is about showing what is possible. This partnership between the tribes and many different grassroots organizations is a powerful statement. It shows the unity we have built to go up against this evil zombie of a pipeline that threatens our water, land and our very lives. We’ve seen the devastation TransCanada has caused, from our relatives living near Alberta’s tar sands to the recent pipeline explosion in West Virginia. Now we’re showing the world what is possible through a project creating real solutions.”

May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director: “The fight against Keystone XL has always been about more than one pipeline — we’re demanding a world free of dirty fossil fuels. Putting solar in the path of this pipeline models the massive overhaul our energy system needs to stop the worst of climate change. While Trump and fossil fuel executives continue to deny the writing on the wall, our resistance must grow stronger. We already know the just way forward is with renewable energy solutions like solar and wind, now we need the will.”

###

Contact:
Dani Heffernan, 350.org, , +1 (305) 992-1544, Mark Hefflinger, Bold Nebraska, , 323-972-5192

Previous articleMortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Next articleSecretary Zinke and Blackfeet Nation Chairman Barnes Sign Documents Implementing the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement and Compact