We fight pipelines and big corporations that threaten the land and water. We build clean energy projects that benefit rural communities.

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, Founder and Director  Jane is an experienced grassroots organizer, author, manager, political strategist, and nonprofit entrepreneur. She founded Bold in 2010 with the goal of bringing together rural and urban Nebraskans to change the political landscape of the state. After stopping the KXL pipeline, Bold Nebraska grew to the Bold Alliance. In her work, Jane protects property rights while building an engaged base of citizens who care about the land and water. For her years of work in rural communities, Jane was named a Climate Breakthrough awardee in 2023, the highest honor in the climate change field. Jane is setting out to create a new project called Energy Builders that works with rural communities to change the economic model of large-scale clean energy projects to benefit the people who live on the land that is creating America’s next 100 years of energy.

More About Jane


Mark Hefflinger, Digital and Communications Director  Mark is Bold’s Digital and Communications Director, publishes the daily “Extracted” email newsletter and assists with various projects including the Pipeline Fighters Hub. 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.


Terrell McKinney, Land Justice Director

Senator Terrell McKinney, a proud native of North Omaha, Nebraska, is deeply involved in addressing energy and agricultural matters that connect urban and rural communities. At the forefront of Bold’s initiatives, McKinney leads efforts to transition the North Omaha coal plant, champions the creation of a Rural and Urban Communities Bill of Rights focusing on land and economic justice, and facilitates the implementation of Community Benefit and Dividend Agreements for energy projects. Currently serving as the State Senator for District 11 in the Nebraska Legislature, McKinney holds pivotal roles including Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee, Chair of the Economic Recovery Special Committee, Vice-Chair of the Nebraska Sentencing Reform Taskforce, and active membership in the Business, Labor, and Judiciary Committees. In his initial term, McKinney achieved significant milestones, such as supporting legislation to restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated citizens, securing over $250 million in funding for small businesses and nonprofits in North and South Omaha, and successfully advocating for the recognition of Malcolm X, an Omaha-born figure, with an official day of recognition statewide. Passionate about community engagement, McKinney is deeply committed to grassroots organizing and serves as a wrestling coach. Before entering politics, McKinney dedicated himself to community organizing, tackling issues like food insecurity, advocating for Medicaid expansion, and guiding individuals as a career navigator. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Sport Business Management from Maryville University-St. Louis, a Master of Business Administration from Midland University, and is currently pursuing a law degree at Creighton University School of Law.


Paul Blackburn, Attorney and Energy Policy Advisor  Paul Blackburn provides strategic, policy and legal services on pipelines and renewable energy matters for Bold’s Pipeline Fighters Hub, Easement Acton Team and Energy Builders projects. 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.


Justin Pearson, Strategic Advisor  Justin Jamal Pearson provides strategic advice and training to local advocates across various Bold projects. He founded MCAP and helped protect landowners from eminent domain. Rep. Pearson was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives representing the 86th district, covering parts of the city of Memphis, in January 2023. When he was sworn into office at the age of 28, Pearson became the second-youngest lawmaker serving in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Pearson and fellow state representative Justin Jones were expelled on April 6, 2023 for participating in a gun reform protest inside the state capitol to lift up the voices of parents and young people who were grieving the loss of kids and school staff at the Covenant school shooting. Pearson was reappointed by a unanimous vote of the members present at the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on April 12, 2023.


Emma Schmidt, Organizing Director  Emma works across multiple states to coordinate and support organizers fighting the proposed buildout of CO2 pipelines with our Pipeline Fighters Hub and Easement Action Teams projects. 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, Landowner Organizer  Tom Genung and beloved late wife Cathie were a fixture at Bold Nebraska’s events since the founding of the organization. Tom serves as President of Bold’s board and is an organizer with Bold Nebraska and the Nebraska Easement Action Team which were both instrumental in stopping the Keystone XL pipeline. Tom is now organizing landowners in Nebraska and across the Midwest region that are opposed to the risky carbon pipelines. He also volunteers with Nebraskans for Peace and the Nebraska Farmers Union.


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.


Jack Schiewe, Operations Coordinator  Jack works across Bold’s projects to ensure the team is supported with scheduling, administrative and other operational tasks. He recently graduated from University of Nebraska- Lincoln with a degree in Political Science and Public Policy Analysis. Jack firmly believes that young people, who will live with the consequences of our climate, must be present actors in developing climate solutions.

Bold Alliance
P.O. Box 254
Hastings, Nebraska, 68902

Contact Jane Kleeb for speaking engagements or questions, email info@boldalliance.org

Press inquiries, email Mark Hefflinger, mark@boldalliance.org

Questions about Bold or landowner inquiries, please email info@boldalliance.org

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