The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Holly Shulman,

Nebraska Farmer Leaders in Keystone XL Battle Call for 100% Clean Energy for All

Massive “crop art” installation carves clean energy message into 80-acre cornfield

Neligh, Nebraska

Nebraska farmers and ranchers, who made international headlines standing up to the Keystone XL pipeline, joined with Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign this week to carve a massive crop art into a cornfield calling for 100% clean energy for all.


During the fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, Art and Helen Tanderup's family farm which stood directly in the path of the pipeline, became a rallying ground for actions led by Bold Nebraska's unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Native Americans, and environmentalists. After winning the fight to stop Keystone XL, the Tanderups went all-in on clean energy, installing a large solar array on their farm and purchasing a Chevy Volt. They are now sharing a 100% clean energy message with the world.

"The Keystone XL fight is not over until we have transitioned to 100% clean energy," said Art Tanderup. "Risky fossil fuels like tarsands, are bad for our farms and our communities. Farmers, ranchers, and our Native allies stood up to Keystone, and we are now standing up for clean, American-made energy in the Heartland. Clean energy is no longer a thing of the future -- it's powering Heartland farms and families today."

Art and Helen Tanderup are joining forces with communities around the country pushing for 100% clean energy as part of the the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign. The massive crop art is the first in a series of aerial actions that will launch this spring and summer to show widespread support for 100% clean energy across the country. Clean energy has hit its stride, with solar prices falling 80% in recent years, and the solar industry now employing over 200,000 people -- nearly twice as many people as the coal mining industry. Scientists from Stanford University say the transition to 100% renewable energy will save the average American family $260 dollars per year in energy costs and another $1,500 per year in health care costs.

Artist John Quigley, who created the crop art with the Tanderups, said, "It was an honor to work again with true American heroes Art and Helen Tanderup. They are now leading the transition to 100% clean energy by example. The crop art image design represents the four directions sun, a compass that points us to our true north of 100% clean energy for all. It was inspired by a buffalo robe painting from Native American artist Steve Tamayo. The robe was presented to the Tanderups in an honoring ceremony. "

Bold Nebraska is pushing for local wind and solar projects in the state and ensuring landowners are at the table during this energy transition. This past weekend, the unlikely alliance that stopped Keystone XL came together to paint a protective coat of sealant on a Solar Barn, which provides more energy to Nebraska's grid than Keystone XL ever would have as an export pipeline.

"Landowners were at the heart of the Keystone XL fight and are now at the heart of the clean energy transition," said Jane Kleeb, Director of Bold Nebraska. "Energy independence comes from us building our own clean energy that does not risk our land and water. We know climate change threatens our rural livelihoods and are standing up for clean energy."

"This movement is not just about addressing the problems we need to solve, but also about the opportunities we get to seize," said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "Nebraska activists are showing that we don't just need to stop destructive projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, but also embrace the promises of a new, 100 percent clean energy economy."


ABOUT JOHN QUIGLEY: John Quigley is an internationally known artist, producer, and activist. As founder of Spectral Q his unique mix of human installation and aerial photography brings together communities to create large-scale messages for the common good. In December 2015, he created the 100% Renewable Eiffel Tower Peace Symbol image in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. The resulting images and video went viral on social media and landed on front pages around the world. John has recently partnered with the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 Campaign to create visual art symbolizing the desire and need for a transition to 100% clean energy. May 21 will be the first aerial art project as part of the Ready for 100 campaign.

ABOUT READY FOR 100: A nationwide initiative to show that America is ready for 100% clean energy. The campaign is challenging 100 cities in the nation to step up and commit to 100% Clean Energy. 15 cities, ranging from San Diego CA to Grand Rapids MI, have already made such commitments.

ABOUT BOLD NEBRASKA: Bold is a grassroots advocacy group working with an unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Tribal nations and progressives to stop risky fossil fuel and industrial food projects. Bold Nebraska is best known for their leadership in stopping the Keystone XL pipeline. Bold is now working to end eminent domain for private gain, get a climate test applied to all energy projects and ensure rural communities are at the table during the clean energy transition. Bold supports family farming and ranching over industrial food projects that often pollute the land and water and are abusive to workers.


Art and Helen Tanderup's farm land is in Antelope County, Nebraska. The land has been in Helen's family for 100 years and they continue to honor the family's ethic of good stewardship by not tilling the land and using sound water conservation and farming techniques. They hope to pass the farm on to their two children and grandchildren and are proud the KXL pipeline no longer threatens their family legacy.

Their land is directly on the Ponca Trail of Tears and the proposed KXL route would have crossed this sacred site. Bold Nebraska, the Brave Heart Society, the Ponca tribe and the Great Sioux Nation all gathered for a spiritual camp on this land to come together and pray for our common purpose--to protect the land and water. Later, Ponca Sacred Corn was planted on the land as a way to protect the farm from the Keystone XL pipeline and create "seeds of resistance" which are now planted in communities across the world fighting fossil fuel projects.

Willie Nelson and Neil Young performed at the Harvest The Hope concert on the Tanderup farm where nearly 10,000 people traveled to a cornfield in Nebraska to take climate action. The Keystone XL issue inspired the Tanderups to install a large solar array on their farm.

The Tanderup farm was the site of two previous crop-art images, created in collaboration with artist John Quigley, including an image of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance with the words "Heartland #NoKXL" and a replica of the Presidential seal with the words "Climate Legacy #NoKXL." The latest crop-art promotes the basic fact that America is ready for 100% clean energy.

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

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