Nebraska landowners Bob and Nancy Allpress and supporters install solar panels on the Allpress ranch inside the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route on Aug. 13, 2018. (Photo: Jason Shald)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 13, 2018

Contact:
Mark Hefflinger, Bold Nebraska, mark@boldnebraska.org
Dani Heffernan, 350.org, 305-992-1544, dani@350.org

Third Nebraska Family Installs Solar in the Path of Keystone XL Pipeline

Crowdfunding continues for “Solar XL” project to place additional installations inside the KXL route in Nebraska and South Dakota

Naper, NE — Ranchers Bob & Nancy Allpress became the third Nebraska family to install solar panels on their land near Naper, NE that lies directly in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Aug. 13th.

***Photos of Solar XL and landowners for download & use with attribution:***
https://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/albums/72157699835892934

Nancy and Bob Allpress on their family’s ranch near Naper, NE. (Photo: Grace Young / Bold Nebraska)

The Solar XL project is being supported through an ongoing crowdfunding campaign (See: http://www.BoldNebraska.org/SolarXL). 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 panels in were installed by the family-owned rural solar business, North Star Solar Bears, run by Jim Knopik.

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil a day from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and then on to the export market. The pipeline would pass through farms, ranches, and Indigenous land, posing a threat to the Ogallala Aquifer and other water sources that would be contaminated by spills and leaks. Landowners continue to fight eminent domain for private gain knowing this would be the first time the Public Service Commission (PSC) grants those powers to a foreign corporation. Lastly, all along the route, local economies are connected to agriculture, and climate change is a serious issue. Keystone XL would significantly add to climate risks for farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations.

The first “Solar XL” installation in the path of KXL was erected in July 2017 on the farm of Jim and Chris Carlson — who rejected a $307,000 offer from the pipeline company TransCanada to build Keystone XL through their backyard. The second Solar XL installation in the path of KXL was completed in September 2017 at Prairierose Farm near Atkinson, owned by landowners Diana and Terry “Stix” Steskal.

If permits are granted for Keystone XL construction in Nebraska, TransCanada will have to tear down homegrown clean energy in order to build, galvanizing people across the country to fight back.

QUOTE SHEET:

Bob Allpress, landowner installing solar on land inside KXL route:
“The need for the KXL pipeline product is non-existent in the United States,” said Nebraska landowner Bob Allpress. “The monetary benefit to the peoples of Nebraska will be gone in 7 years, while the risks to our state are for the life of this pipeline. The installation of wind and solar production in Nebraska will provide many good Nebraska jobs and provide years of cheap electricity for everyone in our great state.”

Jim Knopik, solar installer, North Star Solar Bears, LLC:
“Our family-run company is based in Nebraska — and by installing solar projects, like the ones to stop the Keystone XL pipeline — my kids are able to stay on the farm. It’s time for our country to start the transition to clean energy now.”

Jane Kleeb, president, Bold Alliance:
“Our unlikely Alliance is building the type of power that builds our communities. These three solar installations and our solar barn will provide more energy to Nebraska’s grid than the Keystone XL pipeline ever will — because it’s just an export pipeline shipping foreign tarsands to the foreign export market.”

Faith Spotted Eagle, member of the Yankton Sioux Nation and Brave Heart Society:
“Big Oil Bullying is no match for the power of creative, courageous folks on the front lines who respond with clean energy solutions. Our alliances have birthed the best kind of resistance by creating solar projects that respect the rights of Mother Earth and our waters. This is a good clean path to the future of all of our grandchildren! It makes no sense to allow Big Oil to further pollute our rivers which are already compromised. We will prevail.”

Lewis Grassrope, Wiconi un Tipi Camp in Lower Brule, South Dakota: “As common people looking to change the future for generations to come, we see the latest Solar XL installation in Nebraska as an act of hope. It shows our perseverance for the betterment of all. Not only are we building a better way of life, but we’re showing fossil fuel corporations, like TransCanada with their Keystone XL pipeline, that we are still here. We choose life and will continue to protect it.”

Sara Shor, Keep it in the Ground Campaign Manager, 350.org: “Solar XL is about showing what’s possible at a massive scale — a fossil-free economy that doesn’t sacrifice our communities or our climate. Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and South Dakota are challenging the fossil fuel industry’s greed by installing solar along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. We must resist Keystone XL and every new fossil fuel project while moving towards a renewable energy economy that works for all.”

Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network: “While we are dedicated to Keep It In The Ground efforts to stop new fossil fuel development, we are also deeply committed to the Just Transition. Solar and renewable energy can provide a sustainable transition away from fossil fuels and provide job growth in areas traditionally left behind, like rural America and our Indigenous communities. By placing solar projects in the route of Keystone XL, we are demonstrating how vital it is to not just stop dangerous and unnecessary projects like KXL but to also show that there are alternatives to the fossil fuel industry that do not put communities at risk and sacrifice Indigenous Peoples and land. We are excited to be a part of this resistance that also highlights the solutions that are needed.”

David Turnbull, Campaigns Director, Oil Change International: “Keystone XL would be a disaster for our climate and communities, and what’s more TransCanada’s own CEO questions whether there’s even demand for it in the first place. There’s simply no reason to build this dangerous pipeline and put us all at risk. Meanwhile, this new solar installation is a shining example of creative and determined resistance to Big Oil bullying. Landowners up and down the Keystone XL route have shown impressive determination to stop this pipeline for years, and with Solar XL, they’re building the future we all need at the same time.”

Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director, CREDO: “The solar panels being installed on the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline should serve as a powerful reminder of the fierce opposition this pipeline has faced for the past seven years. They also show that our march toward clean energy will move forward despite the best efforts of Donald Trump and his Big Oil cronies to keep us wedded to the dirty energy sources of the past. CREDO is proud to stand with and support the landowners and indigenous people on the pipeline route who are leading the opposition to Keystone XL.”

More information on the “Solar XL” project:
http://boldnebraska.org/solarxl

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Erecting the frame for Solar XL Install #3 on the Allpress ranch. (Photo: Jason Shald)
Solar XL supporters in front of the solar trailer that South Dakota advocates have used to spread awareness about Keystone XL and the Solar XL project. (Photo: Jason Shald)
Solar XL project supporters from Nebraska and South Dakota at the Allpress ranch for Solar XL Install #3. (Photo: Jason Shald)