Energy

Enviros Think Solar Panels Along Keystone Pipeline Route Will Shame Developers Into Giving Up

Activists are raising money to place scores of solar panels along the Keystone XL Pipeline so the project’s developers will feel bad when they destroy the panels to make room for the multi-state oil line.

Environmentalists with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Bold Nebraska, among others, aim to raise more than $50,000 to build solar panel along the pipeline’s route. The panels will be connected to Nebraska’s power grid.

“Solar XL will force TransCanada to tear down a safe, clean energy system to build its dirty tar sands pipeline on treaty lands of the Oceti Sakowin and Ponca tribal nations,” Dallas Goldtooth, an IEN Keep it in the Ground Organizer, wrote in a press statement Wednesday. Keystone is slated to run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and will pass through several different states along the way.

Oceti Sakowin and Ponca tribes said in a statement that they will fight to protect “our sacred Mother Earth” from what they call the oil industry’s mission to put their lives at risk. Activists have been battling against Keystone for several years.

TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the project, encountered fierce opposition from landowners and activists during its initial proposed route and successive legal challenges over the legality of maneuvering around plots of land eventually brought the project to a standstill.

Former President Barack Obama rejected the project outright in 2014, arguing it was not consistent with the country’s fight against so-called man-made warming. Environmentalists cheered the former president’s decision but were forced to gird up for another battle against Obama’s successor.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January overturning his predecessor’s order allowing the company to resubmit its pipeline application to the State Department for approval. The Army Corps of Engineers approved the 2,000-mile-long pipeline, but developers must wait until next month, when the Nebraska Public Service Commission determines the project’s fate.

If the NPSC places a barrier on the pipeline, which is expected to carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries, then it could prevent taxpayers from raking in $1.6 billion a year in profits, according to a recent report from American Action Forum. American taxpayers stand to gain more than $44 million-a-day thanks to the project, the report noted.

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