Corporations and banks will not move on from the fossil fuel era because of our compelling moral and ecological arguments about why they should. So we are learning to speak their language. Money talks.
It is imperative to understand that corporations need banks to fund their fossil fuel projects, but banks do not need fossil fuel projects to make a profit. Kill the funding and kill the pipelines.
Over the Summer, our coalition of grassroots Indigenous groups from across Turtle Island joined the 121 First Nations and Tribes united by the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, to launch a new, integrated divestment campaign against the banks funding Dakota Access and all four tar sands oil pipelines currently proposed out of Canada.
“We call on all banks and financial institutions to withdraw their investments in the corporations proposing to build new pipelines to carry even more tar sands oil out of Canada,” says Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “We call on individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments to withdraw their money from these financial institutions until they divest from these pipeline companies who are violating our rights, our treaties and our sovereignty. We stand in solidarity with the Tribes of the Great Sioux Nation and all communities impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline, and also call for divestment from any financial institution invested in Energy Transfer Partners.”
We collected over 100,000 signatures on the petition for this campaign, and delivered them to banks throughout the Summer months.
In Seattle, we have been shutting down banks. We targeted JP Morgan Chase specifically and demanded that they either not give loans to Tar Sands pipelines, or we would shut them down. To date, we have shut down several dozen branches throughout the city resulting in lost revenue for the bank.
Late Spring action in Seattle where 13 branches were closed at 26 people were arrested. Roxanne White, Matt Remle, Rachel Heaton L-R. Photo by Alex Garland
Previously, we organized a campaign to get the City of Seattle to divest, resulting in the divestment over $3 billion from Wells Fargo. Other cities are following.
Our momentum is building and our new goal is to get the city to cut ties with Wall Street altogether and develop its own public municipal bank.
Our group Mazaska Talks is currently planning for Global Days of Action to “Divest the Globe” October 23-25. We are organizing with people all over the world to disrupt business as usual for these banks.
For more information on the Global Days of Action go here
The Mazaska Talks website (“mazaska” is Lakota for “money”, an homage to the resistance at Standing Rock) is a centralized resource for this campaign, with detailed financial data as well as tools for taking action.
The Tar Sands campaign targets all 64 banks that currently provide financing to Energy Transfer Partners or the three companies proposing new tar sands pipelines: TransCanada (Keystone XL and Energy East), Kinder Morgan (TransMountain Expansion), and Enbridge (Line 3 Expansion). A list of primary targets includes the 17 banks that fund all of these companies, as well as the convenors of major multi-bank credit facilities: Bank of America, Bank of Montreal, Barclays, BNP Paribas, CIBC, Citi, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Mizuho, MUFG, RBC, SMBC, ScotiaBank, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo.
“Much of my community is under water right now due to historic flooding – these are the climate fuelled disasters that banks are funding by pumping money into these pipeline projects” says Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “We cannot allow Big Oil to divide us or weaken our resistance: every one of these four tar sands pipelines needs to be stopped in order to stop the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands. We stand united in the protection of our water, our communities, our climate, and our ways of life as First Peoples.”
This new campaign to defund the tar sands pipelines comes at a time of unprecedented economic vulnerability in the tar sands industry, due to consistently low oil prices and the extremely high cost of tar sands extraction. Major oil companies have been withdrawing investments from the tar sands steadily over the past two years.
So far, the divestment movement launched during the #NoDAPL resistance has successfully withdrawn over $5 billion from DAPL-funding banks, including money from 3 major US cities and over $80 million in individual accounts.
Three European banks have sold their shares of loans to the pipeline company in response to public pressure – DNB of Norway, ING of the Netherlands, and BNP Paribas of France.
Divestment is the next stage in the fight against the black snake that has come to poison our lands. The resistance at Standing Rock changed the world – Indigenous Nations are rising up to create a future with clean water and respect for human rights.
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)