For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Jennifer K. Falcon, jennifer@ienearth.org , 218-760-9958

Private Banks Move to Take Over Oil and Gas Industry Directly Funding Indigenous Human Rights Violations

WASHINGTON - Thursday evening Reuters reported that the four largest funders of extractive industry, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup are preparing to set up individual companies that would directly own oil and gas assets. These companies would manage the assets until market conditions improve enough to sell at a later date. Such brazen action would require approval from federal regulators and would take months to set up. Now is the time to hold banks accountable for funding the destruction of ecosystems.

Every one of these banks are signatory members of the Equator Principles, an international framework that requires banks to respect human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent as they fund projects. Sticking to this agreement now seems doubtful given the widespread Indigenous opposition to oil and gas projects across North America. 
 
Furthermore, a recent report found that Native communities experience higher instances of sexual violence associated with fossil fuel boom industries that emerge in their area. As such, with the aforementioned banks taking charge of oil and gas assets, they are choosing to become directly liable for such violence perpetrated upon these native communities. 
 
The following is a statement by the Indigenous Environmental Network:

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Campaigner for Indigenous Environmental Network said: “No more second-hand business for them, these banks will effectively become the direct perpetrators of human rights and indigenous rights violations across Turtle Island. Indigenous communities from Alaska to the Gulf Coast are in dire straits due to the destruction of fossil fuel corporations. Sexual violence is rampant with the fossil fuel industry in our communities. If these banks want to get their hands even more bloody, so be it, we are taking tally, and best believe, all banks will be held accountable for the attacks on our nations, communities, bodies and lands.”

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Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

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