A group of Nebraska grannies is taking a stand — or seat — against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline with a series of rocking-chair protests in the state.
They call themselves the Grandmothers’ Apple Pie Brigade, a coalition of women throughout the state who are taking action to protect the land they hope to hand down to their grandchildren but is being threatened by the construction of the pipeline.
Their most recent campaign will be aimed at halting construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is poised to pass through the eastern portion of their state. To draw attention to the wide array of Nebraskans opposed to the foreign corporation-sponsored pipeline project, they’ll set up their rocking chairs in various demonstrations throughout Nebraska, hoping to rock their way to victory for future generations.
Their focus will be on President Barack Obama, who will have the final say on whether to approve the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline route. The pipeline is expected to transport 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day.
While Obama has delayed the pipeline in the past, analysts expect he’ll give it a green light this time around. During a recent climate change address to the nation, Obama said the pipeline will be halted only if its net effects are proven to increase carbon pollution. In March, the State Department released a report indicating the pipeline would have no impact on climate change, using the logic that tar sands would continued to be extracted in Alberta, Canada, with or without U.S. approval of Keystone XL.
The Apple Pie Brigade began their effort in 2011, using their baking skills as a form of protest aimed at Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Dave Heineman. The goal was to pressure Heineman to call a special session with legislators to discuss the Keystone XL’s proposed route.
Their efforts didn’t sway the governor, but they didn’t stop there.
In 2012, they gathered to protest a pro-Keystone XL bill intended to start the process of evaluating potential routes for the pipeline. Opponents of the proposal expressed concern over the propensity for spills that could devastate water supplies and farm and ranch lands.
“We don’t have expense accounts and millions of dollars for ads. We don’t have PR firms, we don’t have lobbyists or well-paid attorneys. We have only our voices, our sincerity and our love of this state,” Mary Pipher, a member of the Apple Pie Brigade, said in 2012 press conference held at the Nebraska State Capitol.
The sentiment expressed by Pipher was echoed by grandmothers who took to the podium, expressing their desire for their point of view to be heard.
“We grandmothers are for clean water,” grandmother Nancy Packard said while holding a baby. “We are for conservation. We are for uncontaminated soil. We are for taking care of things. We are for lawmakers who think.”
Now the grandmothers are hoping their movement catches on throughout the nation. Their most recent rocking chair protests will be posted on their website, www.applepiebrigade.org, which is set to launch soon.
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