Nebraskans React to News of Keystone XL Pipeline Rejection on Day One of the Biden Harris Administration
Hastings, NE — President Biden announced on Wednesday officially that he will rescind the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on Day One of the Biden-Harris Administration.
An unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Indigenous leaders, and climate advocates have fought this pipeline for a decade. Below is a sampling of quotes from key leaders in Nebraska.
Interviews with Nebraskans, including landowners and Tribal leaders, can be secured by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Images over the last decade, with proper credit, can be used and found here:
“A decade of fighting in the cornfields, dirt roads and halls of Congress led us to this moment where an unlikely alliance of faces and voices were heard by President Biden. We are filled with hope that the rejection of the KXL pipeline is the first of many projects that will be cancelled and be replaced with a clean energy plan that lifts us all up and builds America back better.”
—Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska founder
“On behalf of the Ponca Tribe, we thank President-Elect Biden on his commitment to listen to the tribal nations and all of those involved in fighting this effort. We thank all the pipeline fighters, land owners, and all involved that have fought against this for so long and made this a priority for this new administration.”
—Larry Wright Jr., Chairman, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
“Thank you President Joe Biden. You have stood with the citizens to protect our natural resources. We didn’t know we were so strong. The journey has been memorable. We met many, formed friendships. We learned and shared many facts. We laughed and cried. We became stronger and even leaders. Nebraska drew the line in the sand, telling a foreign corporations TransCanada NoKXL. Congratulations Sandhills Posse, Pipeline Fighters, Cowboy and Indian Alliance, Bold Nebraska and so many, many more! We protected the Ogallala Aquifer and Nebraska soils for future generations!”
—Bonny Kilmurry, Nebraska landowner and rancher on pipeline route
“Nebraska landowners have fought over 144 lawsuits and 225 appeals throughout the course of 11 years. Enough has been enough for a very long time, but we held together and never stopped despite all odds against us at every level – and now, victory.”
—Brian Jorde of Domina Law, attorney for Nebraska landowners fighting eminent domain
“This would be one answered prayer that we are emerging from the long nightmare that has been the Trump presidency. This rejection is a victory for the protection of private land ownership which is a bedrock right in our nation’s history. It is a victory for science and the clear call it has made in opposition to KXL. It is a victory for truth, for only through its mass misinformation campaign was KXL and its complicit politicians and business leaders able to dupe many in the public. But the public is duped no more and we finally have a leader who promises to lead for the betterment of the nation and restore our standing in the world. Thank you President Biden and all the thousands of voices who have stood strong these many years.”
—Jeanne Crumly, Nebraska rancher whose land is in the Sandhills and directly impacted
“As landowners along the KXL route, we applaud President Biden for rejecting the KXL permit. President Biden understands the climate impact, the corporate abuse of eminent domain, the lack of respect for treaty rights, the protection of numerous endangered species, and the preservation of the Ogallala Aquifer as well as multiple rivers and streams. This administration is harvesting the hope of building a better America.”.
—Art Tanderup, farmer on the route who also returned land to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska where KXL was threatening to cross the Ponca Trail of Tears
“The strong alliances between farmers, ranchers and Tribal allies were able to form because of having a common enemy–the Keystone XL pipeline–and we made sure to keep the campaign focused at the local level, not only in the halls of Congress.”
—Tom and Cathie Genung, landowners and chair of the NEAT(Nebraska Easement Action Team) landowners’ collective
“This is great news and I certainly want to thank the Biden-Harris administration for rejecting the permit for the KXL pipeline. I must admit however that my excitement is somewhat tempered due to the fact that we have been down this road once before only to have our hopes and expectations crushed with the election of a Republican president. Sadly, as long as this project remains a political football I will never feel secure in our victory.”
—Randy Thompson, cattleman and face of the KXL campaign in the early years
Bold is also a member of the Promise to Protect coalition, which issued this joint statement:
People-powered victory: Biden to stop Keystone XL on Day One
On Day 1 in office, President Joe Biden will fulfill his promise to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit by executive action. This is a massive movement victory of a 10+ year fight thanks to millions of people demanding an end to fossil fuels, and a signal that Biden is following through on his promises to protect people and planet. In late-2015, former President Obama rejected the permit for the project on the grounds that it would undermine the nation’s leadership to tackle the climate crisis. Donald Trump reversed this decision in early 2017. Construction on the 1,200 mile pipeline has continued to hit economic and legal obstacles since then.
Quotes from the Promise to Protect coalition members:
“For over a decade, Indigenous peoples and our allies have prayed, cried, and demonstrated to stop this evil zombie pipeline. We look forward to hearing President Biden take further action by stopping DAPL and Line 3. Nothing less than stopping these attacks by guaranteeing free, prior and informed consent and establishing a climate test will we consider to call this a complete victory. However, today is a great day. And I thank all that helped us get here,” said Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member, Frontline Community Organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network.
“On behalf of the Ponca Tribe, we thank President-Elect Biden on his commitment to listen to the tribal nations and all of those involved in fighting this effort. We thank all the pipeline fighters, land owners, and all involved that have fought against this for so long and made this a priority for this new administration,” said Larry Wright Jr., Chairman Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
“The climate crisis reaches our most vulnerable communities first. As a mother and grandmother of our Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nations, I’m grateful you have honored your promise of NO KXL which will support a greener economy and impact more than the United States. A promise that coming generations will hear across Mother Earth. Pilamiya President Biden,” said Paula Antoine, Dakota Rural Action Board Member, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Member.
“President-Elect Biden is showing courage and empathy to the farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations who have dealt with an ongoing threat that disrupted their lives for over a decade. Today marks healing, hope and a path for the clean energy that builds America back better,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Founder
“We applaud President Biden for keeping his promise to stop Keystone XL, putting the health of our climate above corporate balance sheets. Alongside farmers, ranchers, indigenous communities, and countless others, we have stood strong for over a decade. We’ve worked to protect not just our air, land, water, and climate, but also the democratic processes, tribal rights, and property rights that have been trampled throughout this fight,” said Dena Hoff, Glendive, MT farmer and member of Northern Plains Resource Council.
“Indigenous people have been at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice and protection. Tribal Nations and communities are battling every day for the protection of their homelands and survival of ecosystems and ways of life. That’s why the ACLU of South Dakota supported water protectors, our Indigenous partners and their right to protest the proposed pipeline. It’s why we challenged the “riot boosting act” in court in 2019 and opposed similar legislation in 2020 – both unnecessary efforts to legislative peaceful protest in South Dakota that were sparked by a desire to suppress protests around the Keystone XL pipeline. The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. Wopila Tanka president Biden for fulfilling your commitment to rescind the Keystone XL permit,” said Candi Brings Plenty, Indigenous Justice Organizer, American Civil Liberties South Dakota.
“In the spring of 2020, then Presidential Candidate Biden, promised to stop the KXL Pipeline, amongst other actions to protect the climate – this was one of the reasons why we committed to mobilize the Native vote in the lead up to elections because not only would this action be significant for climate justice but also for advancing Indigenous rights. It is affirming that the Biden/Harris Administration have kept this promise, especially after four years of broken promises, attacks, and lies from #45. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration to strengthen Nation to Nation relationships and to combat climate change with bold action and Indigenous led solutions,” said Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, NDN Collective.
“The KXL pipeline was set to go through the heart of the Oceti Sakowin Territory. The people came together, resisted the fossil fuel industry and stood up for our lands, water and rights. We will continue to resist and fight. We look forward to collaborating with the Biden administration in closing the DAPL pipeline and stopping the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. These are Indigenous lands and we need to return them to Indigenous hands to protect them, combat climate change and build a better tomorrow,” said Nick Tilsen, President & CEO NDN Collective.
Today is the result of years of dedication from grassroots organizers who not only made the cancellation of the KXL Pipeline possible, but whose votes made the difference in electing President Biden,” said Judith Le Blanc (Caddo), director of Native Organizers Alliance. “We are grateful for President Biden’s decision to move so quickly on environmental issues and uphold tribal sovereignty,” says Judith LeBlanc Director, Native Organizers Alliance.
“We stand in reverence to the decades of organizing by First Nations, farmers, and the climate justice movement that secured this major victory. The fight to stop Keystone XL was never just about one pipeline. Stopping this zombie pipeline means stopping Line 3, Dakota Access, and all fossil fuel projects. Coal, oil, and gas projects, without a doubt, catalyze climate change and fail a meaningful climate test. The stakes are higher than ever, and that’s why we’re escalating the urgent demand that Biden move America off fossil fuels and ensure fossil fuel corporations pay for the damage they’ve caused. Let this victory show: when we organize, we win,” said Kendall Mackey, 350.org Keep It In the Ground Campaign Manager.
Additional statements from National Organizations and other frontline community members:
“This is a vindication of 10 years defending our waters and treaty rights from this tar sands carbon bomb. I applaud President Biden for recognizing how dangerous KXL is for our communities and climate and I look forward to similar executive action to stop DAPL and Line 3 based on those very same dangers.”
—Dallas Goldtooth, (Mdewakanton Dakota and Dine), Indigenious Environmental Network
“The KXL cancellation is a step in the right direction, but governments of both the United States and Canada must do more. Climate change will not wait. The impacts of this crisis are already being felt by Indigenous communities and further exacerbated by the global pandemic. It is not the time for half measures and false promises, but for climate justice.”
—Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation), Executive Director, Indigenous Climate Action
“This great win comes after a decade of organizing–and since the scientific and human rights principles are exactly the same for DAPL and Line 3, we assume we’ll hear similar good news on them soon! Right out of the gate Joe Biden is showing that he listens to people, not special interests.”
—Bill McKibben, 350.org co-founder
“The victory ending the KXL Pipeline is an act of courage and restorative justice by the Biden Administration. It gives tribes and Mother Earth a serious message of hope for future generations as we face the threat of climate change. It aligns Indigenous environmental knowledge with presidential priorities that benefit everyone. It will create a powerful moral compass for the preservation of thousands of our sacred sites and our sacred water. This decision honors the life-changing alliances that have formed between tribes, farmers and landowners for over a decade. There is much more restoration that awaits us and we are ready!”
—Faith Spotted Eagle (Ihanktonwan Dakota), Brave Heart Society founder
“President Biden’s decision to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on its first day turns the page on a twelve-year fight over the energy future of our country and sets the stage for a more prosperous future powered by clean energy.”
—Anthony Swift, Natural Resources Defense Council, Canada Program Director
“We are so excited for President Biden to move forward on climate action and environmental justice starting on Day One. Putting a stop to the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline immediately and once and for all would be an important first step and testament to the leadership of the diverse movement that has long pushed to stop it and other harmful pipelines.”
—Tiernan Sittenfeld, League of Conservation Voters Senior Vice President for Government Affairs
“Today as we celebrate this long delayed victory of people power over the fossil fuel industry, it is important to be clear that truly moving the climate needle forward will require following through on the logic of climate science and Indigenous land rights that makes KXL unacceptable. This means cancelling Enbridge’s equally destructive Line 3 tar sands pipeline, as well as the DAPL pipeline and other and oil and gas export projects that would commit our economy to years of future dependence on fossil fuels.”
—Ginger Cassady, Rainforest Action Network Executive Director
“Today’s rejection of Keystone XL will be a huge and hard-fought victory for our communities, clean water, and climate. When this pipeline was proposed, it was a foregone conclusion that it would easily be approved and constructed. The fact that it still hasn’t been built over 12 years later, and that later today it will be rejected for good, is a testament to the dedication and tenacity of a nationwide movement of frontline communities, Indigenous leaders, and environmentalists working together to insist that our future is not worth sacrificing for a dirty tar sands pipeline. We applaud President Biden for listening to these voices and rejecting this terrible project once and for all.”
—Catherine Collentine, Associate Director, Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign
“This is a great start for the Biden administration! It reawakens hope among public transit workers and riders that a real effort might still be made to confront the climate emergency. The president’s commitment to creating millions of good union jobs in the fight against climate change should unite all of Labor in the struggle to protect and restore a decent standard of living for all working people.
—Bruce Hamilton, Vice President, Amalgamated Transit Union