Opinion

Keystone pipeline opponent’s ‘dirty little secret’: A coal-powered ‘Clean Energy Barn’

Joe Herring Independent Policy Analyst
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Information unearthed by the Nebraska chapter of Americans for Prosperity regarding the energy use of Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline opponents actually makes the point the environmental left is trying desperately to obscure – that we all rely on fossil fuels to get things done.

From a press release issued by AFP-Nebraska –

AFP-Nebraska has obtained the energy consumption history report for the “Clean Energy Barn” from the Perennial Public Power District.  The report indicates BOLD Nebraska has been purchasing energy from Perennial for the “Clean Energy Barn” – energy produced by coal-fired electricity plants.

BOLD Nebraska is the anti-oil activist group headed by Jane Kleeb that has been agitating in Nebraska against the construction of the KXL.  They have centered their criticism over the route of the pipeline through Nebraska, going so far as to construct what they describe as a “Clean Energy Barn,” directly in the path of the multi-billion dollar project.

According to Kleeb, “This barn will not only have solar energy, it will have a wind turbine as well, so it will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy.”

The activist has made this claim in multiple venues, and the anti-Keystone movement has made the “Clean Energy Barn” the centerpiece of their opposition to the pipeline in particular, and fossil fuels in general.

AFP-Nebraska continues:

“Jane Kleeb and BOLD Nebraska have a dirty little secret that’s been exposed,” said Matt Litt, State Director of AFP-Nebraska. “Bold Nebraska and Jane Kleeb pledged to use renewable energy sources for this project, yet these renewable sources were not able to meet consumption demands.” 

According to the information provided by the local public power utility that services the area, the “Clean Energy Barn” relied on electricity generated by coal-fired power plants for more than a third of their total energy consumption.

“Bold Nebraska’s reliance on fossil fuels to operate the ‘Clean Energy Barn’ underlines the point supporters of Keystone XL have been saying all along,” Litt adds, “we need access to cheap, reliable energy to meet 21st Century needs. Keystone XL is an essential component to meeting this growing need.”

The opposition to the Keystone XL has used a mixture of pseudo-science and scaremongering to convince Nebraskans that this important project is an unacceptable hazard to health and the environment. Although their “studies” have been repeatedly debunked, they haven’t ceased to peddle their fiction.

The “Clean Energy Barn” is a focal point of the anti-pipeline movement.  It is intended to be a representation of what America’s future can be with clean energy.

BOLD Nebraska’s website describes its activities this way:

During the summer and fall of 2013, Nebraskans stood up for their future by literally building the clean energy future we need. We challenged Big Oil to show their true stripes by constructing a wind turbine and solar-powered barn immediately in the path of the proposed pipeline, using creative tactics to resist pipeline construction before it begins.

If President Obama approves Keystone XL, he’ll now have to tear down clean and locally-produced energy to make way for dirty and foreign tarsands.

Perhaps Ms. Kleeb is unaware that most, if not all of the coal burned to provide power for her earth-saving activities isn’t “locally-produced” or “clean” by BOLD’s standards. In fact, if the coal came from Nebraska at all, chances are it is bituminous coal, a solid-form relative of the very tar sands the pipeline will transport.

Like most of the left’s dirty little secrets, this one reeks of hypocrisy. It’s ok, Ms. Kleeb  America understands. We like to have the lights on after the sun goes down too.