The Nebraska group against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday afternoon for a construction project of its own.
Bold Nebraska said the "Build Our Energy Barn" will be constructed on land directly inside the route of the proposed TransCanada pipeline that would carry oil from Canada to Texas. The barn will be an educational resource where the community can learn about and discover sustainable energy alternatives that serve to benefit the agricultural industry.
"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,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska.
Meghan Hammond's family has owned the land 15 miles northwest of York for five generations. "We thought it was a brilliant idea, that it represents how our family is thinking, that we believe in green energy and that we can do better."
Supporters of the pipeline say raising the barn is little more than a stunt and detracts from the pipeline's potential. “We support solar, we support wind, we support bio-energy, said Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence spokesman Barry Rubin. “We also support logical, sensible sources of fossil fuels like this."
Rubin said years of research have been spent on the pipeline and that research suggests it's best for the state and that most people support it. "It's abundantly clear that this pipeline is in our nation's interest.”
Opponents say it's the people whose property the pipeline would go through who will be affected most if it is built. They also said raising this barn gives them hope for the future. "It makes me feel optimistic that we have a good chance of getting the outcome that we'd like to see,” said Hammond.
Bold Nebraska said if President Obama approves a permit for the pipeline, TransCanada will then either have to reroute the pipeline or demolish a community-serving, sustainable energy structure.