NELIGH, NE — This isn’t normal corn getting picked on the Tanderup farm.
It’s originally from 137 year old seeds. It’s considered sacred by the Ponca tribe. And it’s a symbol of the pipeline fighters’ plight.
“Where we planted, that ground has become sacred,” farmer Art Tanderup said. “That pipeline should never cross anywhere near here, but it most definitely should not pass through any sacred native grounds.”
It was the fourth year that Bold Nebraska organized the planting and harvesting of the sacred corn on Tanderup’s farm north of Neligh.
The group is opposing the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is proposed to pass through the Tanderup property. Director of Bold Nebraska Jane Kleeb says they wanted to plant the corn directly in the path of the project.
“So that was the whole purpose of us planting the Ponca Corn, which we call seeds of resistance, is that it’s medicine for the land to protect it from the pipeline,” Kleeb said.
While the pipeline opponents pick what they call the “seeds of resistance,” the Nebraska Public Service Commission is debating if TransCanada’s pipeline should be allowed to dissect Nebraska or not. A decision could be made in the coming days as the PSC’s deadline is November 23rd.
“We are confident that we are going to get a positive decision,” Kleeb said. “If we don’t, there is an appeal process that we will follow and we’ll continue to do this kind of creative resistance that we’re doing today that we’ve always done.”
The publicly-elected, five-member PSC will use a majority vote to determine if the pipeline clears another regulatory hurdle or not.
Bold Nebraska’s opinion on the matter is heard loud and clear.
“The pipeline has no place here,” Tanderup said. “It has no place over this aquifer. We need to be looking at renewable energy instead of dirty fossil fuels.”