Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, CREDO, and Oil Change International launched a campaign, called “Solar XL,” to build solar arrays along the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska.

The solar panels, which will be installed in several locations along the route, will help power the farms and ranches threatened by TransCanada’s use of eminent domain for private gain.

The campaign will focus on crowdfunding through Bold Nebraska to support installation of the solar panels.

The Solar XL campaign is launching one month before the Nebraska Public Service Commission is expected to hold the main legal hearing for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.

Nebraska is the last state to review the pipeline and the PSC has the ability to approve, reject or alter TransCanada’s proposed route.

Tens of thousands of comments have been submitted to the PSC from across the country, urging commissioners to reject the permit. 

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of foreign tar sands from Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska 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 could be contaminated by spills and leaks.

A worst-case spill study showed the Platte River could be polluted with almost 6 million gallons of tar sands and chemicals like benzene.

The Solar XL campaign will put renewable energy directly in Keystone XL’s path, underscoring the need to center solutions to climate change while resisting the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.

Pipelines like Keystone XL would lock in disastrous levels of warming, exacerbating the climate crisis. With the Trump administration attempting to undermine U.S. action on climate, the need for a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy has never been greater.

The campaign focuses on crowdfunding through Bold Nebraska to support the installation of the solar panels in the lead up to the Nebraska Public Service Commission hearings on Keystone XL in August.

On Aug. 6, one day before the hearings begin, pipeline opponents will march through the streets of Lincoln and urge commissioners to reject the Keystone XL permit and deny the use of eminent domain for private gain.

The solar panels will serve not only as a form of clean energy, but as a symbol of job creation and job growth in renewable energy, making a just transition away from fossil fuels all the more urgent.

In 2016, solar power employed more people than oil, coal and gas combined, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy. These findings starkly contrast Trump’s promises to “bring back” coal jobs, and his administration’s work to dismantle climate protections. If permits are granted for Keystone XL construction in Nebraska, TransCanada will have to tear down homegrown clean energy in order to build, and will galvanize people across the country to fight back.

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