More banks bailing on tar sands pipelines

#DivestTheGlobe, the Indigenous-led campaign that has grown out of resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, claims another win in widening boycott of pipeline financiers

The largest-ever coordinated boycott of banks financing tar sands development just got bigger.

On Thursday, November 2, Minneapolis-based US Bank announced it is ending its credit relationship with Enbridge, the Canadian oil and gas giant looking to expand its tar sands pipeline network through Northern Minnesota with its proposed Line 3 project.

MN350, a Minnesota-based spin-off of, said in a statement released November 2 that the move by US Bank comes as a growing number of financial institutions around the world are backing away from funding tar sands projects. French bank BNP Paribas, Dutch bank ING and Sweden’s largest pension fund, AP7, also recently announced their divestment from tar sands projects. 

Besides Enbridge’s Line 3 project, TransCanada’s Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL projects are also being targeted. All three are facing litigation and widespread opposition from Indigenous groups. Energy East, another of the pipelines opposed, was recently shelved by Enbridge.

The #DivestTheGlobe campaign, the Indigenous-led divestment movement behind the effort  has grown out of resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The campaign held coordinated protests targeting banks in 60 cities last month, including Toronto and Montreal. The protests coincided with an international meeting of 92 of the world’s largest banks in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where climate policies and Indigenous People’s rights to free, prior and informed consent were discussed. There, the banks agreed to look into adopting stricter principles for assessing the environmental and social risks of projects they finance. The results of those deliberations are expected in 18 months.

“Financial institutions are increasingly recognizing the significant reputational and financial risks posed by pipelines,” said Greenpeace Canada oil campaigner Alex Speers-Roesch in response to the US Bank decision. “There’s a growing awareness that fossil fuel projects that are incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement and do not have consent from Indigenous nations make for risky business ventures.”

Last week, Greenpeace Canada and Oil Change International published a report on the potential financial costs and risks to the reputation for banks funding pipeline projects. The environmental organization is calling out Canadian banks TD Bank and Desjardins, in particular, for continuing to finance tar sands projects. The diagrams and charts below are from Greenpeace’s report. They show the routes of the proposed pipelines, the current status of the projects and the location of spills of hazardous liquids from existing TransCanada and Enbridge pipelines since 2010. 

Existing and proposed expansion of tar sands pipeline system 

Tar sands pipeline system.png

Greenpeace, Oil Change International

The financial costs and environmental risks of pumping pipelines

Kinder Morgan.png
Keystone XL.png
Enbridge cont'd.png

Spills from Kinder Morgan (purple), TransCanada (green) and Enbridge (blue) pipelines, 2010 to present

Location of pipeline spills 2010 to present.png

Greenpeace, Oil Change International | @enzodimatteo

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