We fight pipelines and Big Corporations that threaten the land and water.
The Bold Alliance is a network of “small and mighty” groups in rural states working to protect land and water. We fight fossil fuel projects, protect landowners against eminent domain abuse, and work for clean energy solutions while building an engaged base of citizens who care about the land, water, and climate change.
The Bold Alliance works with unlikely alliances of farmers, ranchers, fisherfolk, Tribal nations and progressives to stop risky fossil fuel and industrial food projects with the grassroots style we used to stop Keystone XL.
We believe that small but mighty can and does beat big and powerful. We work to end eminent domain for private gain pipelines. We believe the same climate test used by Pres. Obama to reject Keystone XL pipeline should be applied to all fossil fuel projects. We want to see America make the clean energy transition with landowners, workers and front-line communities at the table.
We support family farming and ranching over industrial food projects that often pollute the land and water and are abusive to workers.
Rural states and communities are deeply tied to the land and water because Agriculture serves as the main economic driver our families rely on, which is put at-risk by fossil fuel development and the related impacts of climate change.
Whether by fracking, pipelines, oil trains or coal mining, fossil fuel development is threatening our land, our water and our way of life in rural and urban communities. The advancement of bio-fuels combined with building local, clean energy, can lift up rural communities while powering America.
As people from the heartland to the Gulf stand up to Big Oil interests, more Americans—and more elected leaders—will see themselves reflected in the movement, and the tired framing of pitting coastal liberals against heartland conservatives will lose its power. Instead, Americans will see that the essential conflict is between the fossil fuel industry and the well being of our families.
The creation of unlikely alliances is reshaping the energy and climate debate. Bold is the heart of this movement.
Jane Kleeb, President: Jane is an experienced grassroots organizer, political strategist and nonprofit entrepreneur. In 2010, Jane Kleeb founded Bold Nebraska organizing a group of farmers and ranchers that call themselves “Pipeline Fighters.” Protecting the land and water touched a deep nerve with Nebraskans whose family roots are tied to the pioneers and homesteaders that built the state of rich prairie and was at-risk with the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline. In 2016, Jane expanded Bold into a national network called the Bold Alliance which has state offices in Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The Bold Alliance works nationally on ending eminent domain for private gain and ensuring landowners are at the table during the clean energy transition. Jane lives in rural Nebraska with her husband Scott and three daughters.
Mark Hefflinger, Digital & Communications Director: Mark is Bold’s Digital and Communications Director, and currently publishes the daily “Extracted” email newsletter. Mark was born and raised in Omaha, and received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Boston College. He worked as a journalist in California, covering the digital media industry, music and LGBT issues, and more recently managing communications and digital operations for progressive causes. Mark worked on the No on Proposition 8 campaign in California in 2008, and afterwards with organizations including the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center on voter outreach on marriage equality, as well as on CREDO SuperPAC’s successful Congressional campaign that ousted a 30-year conservative, climate change-denying Congressman in Northern California.
Paul Blackburn, Attorney, Pipeline Expert: Paul Blackburn provides legal services on pipeline and renewable energy matters. He has worked on crude oil pipeline issues since 2008, and also has experience in renewable energy policy and development. Paul represented nonprofit clients in the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline, and in the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearing on expansion of Line 67, another Enbridge pipeline. He has provided policy analysis and strategic advice on a variety of pipeline matters and authored reports on pipeline safety and oil spill response. Paul started his legal career in Washington, DC, at the law firm of Van Ness Feldman, where he assisted clients in renewable energy and coal-fired power plant development, a variety of regulatory, legislative, and litigation matters, and Native American commercial law. After leaving private practice, he began a career in the nonprofit sector, including employment by the Sierra Club, the National Environmental Trust, and Oceana in organizing and media. He also has experience in community wind and solar energy development. Paul holds a B.A. in Biology from Macalester College and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
Emma Schmidt, Pipeline Fighters Hub Organizer: Emma works across multiple states to coordinate and support organizers fighting the proposed buildout of CO2 pipelines, as a Pipeline Fighters Hub Organizer with the affiliated Easement Action Teams LLC. Emma is a lifelong rural Iowan based in Calhoun County. After graduating from Iowa State University in 2018, Emma went to work for Food & Water Watch where she organized activists, impacted community members, and elected officials around meaningful policy solutions to address consolidation within our food and farm system. In 2021, Emma leaned on her experience fighting the Dakota Access pipeline to help build a broad opposition movement to a series of hazardous carbon pipelines proposed for the Midwest.
Tom Genung, Regional Pipeline Fighter: Tom Genung and beloved late wife Cathie were a fixture at Bold Nebraska’s events since the founding of the organization in 2009. Tom serves as chairman of the Nebraska Easement Action Team, the co-op of Nebraska farmers and ranchers who refused to sell their land to TransCanada for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and are now working in opposition to proposed carbon pipelines. Tom is a Regional Pipeline Fighter for Bold Alliance, continuing to organize landowners and advocates to get engaged and stop risky pipelines.
Shelli Meyer, Landowner Organizer: Shelli Meyer is a Landowner Organizer working closely with Tom Genung for the Nebraska Easement Action Team, the co-op of Nebraska farmers, ranchers and landowners currently working in opposition to proposed carbon pipelines and eminent domain abuse. Shelli assists in coordinating events for landowners and scheduling agenda items for County Board meetings, tracks and updates landowner lists, and provides email updates from all states to Nebraska landowners. Her family has stewarded their land in Dixon County, NE — which is impacted by the proposed carbon pipelines — since 1924.
Deb Main, Landowner Organizer: Deb Main is a Landowner Organizer for the Iowa Easement Team, the co-op of Iowa farmers, ranchers and landowners currently working in opposition to proposed carbon pipelines and eminent domain abuse. Deb and her husband, Mike, own their family’s Century Farm in Woodbury County and are affected by proposed the Summit hazardous CO2 pipeline.