A coalition of climate groups ramped up their fight to stop Enbrige's Line 3 pipeline Monday with a new campaign to put a "deluge" of pressure on the financial institutions funding the tar sands project.
"Funding Line 3 is an unconscionable act at any time, but especially during a time when there is but a small window for us to move toward a zero-carbon economy in a way that ensures a future for the next generation simply because some JP Morgan or Bank of America executive prioritize profits over people is sickening," said Alec Connon, co-coordinator at Stop the Money Pipeline, in a statement.
"We won't let them take our future—not without a fight," Connon said.
Canadian company Enbridge's plan to replace a corroding pipeline with a larger one to transport an estimated 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin, via North Dakota and Minnesota, has been met with strong opposition. Recent direct actions included water protectors locking themselves to an excavator at a work site in Minnesota earlier this month.
New oil pipelines need new financing - fiscally irresponsible & morally indefensible in a #ClimateEmergency.— Stop the Money Pipeline (@StopMoneyPipe) February 8, 2021
Banks must #DefundLine3 & refuse credit for climate destruction. Send to @Chase @Citi @RBC @TDbank_US & @BankofAmerica: https://t.co/7yM89eVVuZ#StopTheMoneyPipeline
The new campaign focuses on major U.S.banks including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America, as well as international banks such as HSBC, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank, all of whom the Stop the Money Pipeline says (pdf) are underwriting the project. The climate activists have got their eyes on an upcoming deadline when the institutions must decide whether or not to renew Enbridge's loan for the pipeline replacement.
Rainforest Action Network, a member of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition, said the crucial role of the banks is clear. "Without any project finance associated with the pipeline construction, the banks providing Enbridge's general corporate financing are the supporters of this destructive project," RAN said in a December briefing.
It’s simple: without money from banks, oil & gas and coal companies can’t keep polluting the planet.— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) February 8, 2021
It's time to #StopTheMoneyPipeline
Tell Canadian banks @TD_Canada, @RBC, @BMO, @cibc & @scotiabank to stop funding climate destroyers >> https://t.co/SOfZsMFYHI #FossilBanks pic.twitter.com/jBE1plTGWq
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"Less than two months from now, on March 31st, 18 banks have a $2.2 billion loan to Enbridge due for renewal," Stop the Money Pipeline co-coordinator Amy Gray said Monday. "Between now and then, we are going to do everything in our power to make it loud and clear to bank executives: They must walk away from Line 3―or there will be consequences."
In a blog post announcing the #DefundLine3 campaign, Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe), a tribal attorney and founder of the Giniw Collective, laid out different tactics the campaign would be encouraging its supporters to take:
Every week, we're going to ask you to take an action that helps put pressure on those 18 banks funding Line 3. We'll ask you to send direct emails to CEOs, call board members, take part in Covid-safe street protests, participate in projection actions, join online rallies, and much more.
If enough of us take these actions together, we can make the companies funding Line 3 feel enough pressure that they will walk away from Enbridge.
And that, the coalition says, could have ripple down effects that coud help secure a livable planet.
A successful #DefundLine3 campaign, the groups say, "could serve as the death blow to the entire idea of fossil fuels as environmentally sound or acceptable investments."
Houska, in her post, sounded a hopeful note.
"Together, I know that we can do this," she said. "Throughout history people-powered movements have changed the world. And they sure as hell can stop Line 3."