Acting in response to a letter of concern sent by an assemblage of 20 environmental groups, ING Bank said it will not invest in four major Canadian pipeline projects, including Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion, Keystone XL, Energy East, and Line 3 Expansion pipelines.
“The letter highlighted the proposed pipeline’s detrimental impact on the climate and its violations of Indigenous rights,” Greenpeace said in a press release.
“Processing oil sands is known to be energy intensive, producing significant greenhouse gas emissions,” ING said in a statement posted on its website. “This is in addition to potential social impacts, such as on the local native tribes historically using the land.”
Tara Houska, ICMN contributing writer and campaigns director for indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth — one of the 20 groups who sent the letter to ING, lauded the bank’s decision. “ING’s commitment against project level financing of tar sands is a significant step in the right direction," she said in a statement. “We are looking to banks to take on a leadership role and fully divest from funding tar sands and the companies that continue to extract the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world.”
In March, ING said after meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in February, and learning of the tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the bank would divest its $120 million from the project. “(We) publicly expressed our concerns about the project and the violence used against the protesters” and “decided to stop doing any new business with the companies, not renewing credit facilities that expire, effectively ending the relationship,” the bank said in a statement.
“This is the latest reminder that financing pipelines that violate Indigenous rights, threaten water and undermine action on climate change is bad for business and carries considerable risk,” said Alex Speers-Roesch with Greenpeace Canada. “More and more banks and investment funds are realizing that in order to preserve their reputations and long-term financial performance, pipelines are not the way to go.”
The Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline will connect to two existing pipelines in western Massachusetts and will stretch for four miles.
Meanwhile, on June 28, Frances Crowe, a 98-year-old peace activist with the climate justice group Sugar Shack Alliance, was arrested with seven others during a protest against the pipeline, CNN reported. “The police came and said if we went any further they would arrest us. And we tried to go under the rope but we couldn't get under it, so they arrested us where we were. They put us under arrest," Crowe told News10.
Crowe, who has been arrested more than a handful a times while protesting, spent a month in federal prison for spray-painting “Thou Shalt Not Kill” on missile tube casings, Mass Live reported.
The Sugar Shack wrote on its Facebook page that 32 people have been arrested to date protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The action on June 28 launched the groups planned “Summer of Resistance.”
The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion is a $7.4 billion project that “will increase from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day,” Kinder Morgan-Canada reports on its website. Proponents of the pipeline argue it will create an estimated 15,000 jobs.
Culture Editor Simon Moya-Smith contributed to this report.