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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tribes, Landowners, and Climate Groups Expand Campaign to Build Solar Inside Keystone XL Pipeline Route

Crowdfunding will support solar panel installations in South Dakota and Nebraska ahead of TransCanada’s plans for clear-cutting this Fall

Lower Brule, South Dakota — Today, an Indigenous-led coalition of pipeline fighters launched the next phase of their campaign, called “Solar XL,” to install solar panels along the route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. The solar panels, to be installed in Nebraska and South Dakota, will help power the homes, farms, and Indigenous spirit camps of communities resisting the pipeline. This clean & renewable energy project stands in contrast to the threat posed by Keystone XL to land and water, Indigenous rights, and the climate. The coalition behind the Solar XL campaign includes the Indigenous Environmental Network, Native Organizers Alliance, Brave Heart Society, Dakota Rural Action, Bold Nebraska, and 350.org. The campaign will be supported through crowdfunding.

View the fundraising campaign online: https://nokxlpromise.org/solarxl/

This effort builds upon the Solar XL campaign that supported solar installations in Nebraska last summer, on land that farmers and ranchers in the state would’ve been forced to give up to TransCanada. Shortly after in November of last year, Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved an alternate route for Keystone XL, which tribes, farmers, and ranchers continue to challenge in court. These new solar installations along the pipeline’s alternate route will include additional solar arrays on Nebraska farmland and mobile solar units built on unceded Indigenous territory near the Yankton Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations in South Dakota.

The Keystone XL pipeline continues to face challenges in court, including an appeal filed by Nebraska tribes and landowners against the PSC decision and a federal lawsuit against Trump’s “presidential permit” for the project. Nearly 17,000 people have also signed the “Promise to Protect” and committed to join future action along the Keystone XL pipeline route when called upon by Indigenous leaders. Though TransCanada has yet to announce a final investor decision on Keystone XL, the pipeline company is expected to begin clear-cutting this Fall to prepare for construction in 2019. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil.

The solar arrays and mobile solar units built through Solar XL will not only provide renewable energy and demonstrate the fossil-free world we need, they will be part of resistance efforts as signers of the “Promise to Protect” rise up to defend them if necessary. Solar energy has been a powerful tool in Native-led efforts to put renewable energy solutions in the path of the problem, from the Lubicon Solar Project near Alberta’s tar sands, to the solar-powered ‘tiny homes’ in the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia, to the Lakota Solar Enterprise bringing clean energy sovereignty to Indian country. If TransCanada moves forward with construction of Keystone XL, thousands of people are ready to defend the renewable solar energy built in its path.

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