The project is a collaborative effort by Bold Nebraska, the Sierra Club and the Nebraska Farmers Union.
A coalition of Nebraska farmers and environmental advocates are sending a message to TransCanada and the Obama administration, pushing a plan to construct a wind turbine and a solar-powered barn that would block the path of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The project is a collaborative effort by Bold Nebraska, the Sierra Club and the Nebraska Farmers Union. The goal is to raise $65,000 through donations to build the dream barn.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is proposed to run through hundreds of Nebraska homes, farms and ranches, crossing the delicate sandhills and putting the critical Ogallala Aquifer at risk,” project supporters said on their Rally.org fundraising site. “This summer, Nebraskans will stand up for our future by literally building the clean energy future we need.”
The move represents a challenge to President Barack Obama, who spoke of the need to invest in clean energy for the sake of future generations in his State of the Union address in February.
“I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy,” he said.
Now organizers of the energy-efficient barn are daring the president to put his words into action.
“If President Obama approves Keystone XL, he’ll have to tear down these clean and locally produced energy sources to make way for dirty and foreign tar sands,” Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska told UPI.
The campaign is being run through a donation system that rewards donors with gifts. A $25 donation comes with a “Build Our Energy” sticker. A $50 donation puts the contributor’s name on the proposed barn.
Some ranchers and farmers in the Cornhusker State are concerned about the impact the pipeline will have in the construction phase, as well as the potential for oil spills once Keystone is in place.
In May, Nebraska farmers and ranchers invited the president and his staff to the “Beer and Beef Summit,” intended to show Obama firsthand the way of life that could be threatened by the pipeline. The White House declined the offer, claiming Obama was not accepting invitations to meetings regarding the pipeline. As noted by Bold Nebraska, the president recently met with Ellicott Dredges, a pro-pipeline company that has testified before Congress in support of Keystone.
“I simply do not understand why President Obama can find the time to visit a company that helps hold 12 million liters of toxic tar sands water but can not find the time to visit rancher who put over $12 billion of Nebraska-grown food on America’s dinner tables every year,” Nebraska farmer Meghan Hammond said in a press release.
Hammond, a 25-year-old farmer, had to hand over her family’s farmland to TransCanada for the purpose of Keystone XL. Even when her land is returned, she fears the area in which her cattle graze and her corn is grown will be a ticking time bomb.
“Pipelines leak,” Hammond told the Huffington Post. “It’s a matter of when.”