DNB, the largest bank in Norway, has just sold its assets in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Reports are unclear on the extent and nature of these assets (or maybe I just don’t know how to translate financialese). However, by all accounts the assets dumped by the bank are substantial.
Further, DNB is now considering the withdrawal of its loans to the project as well, which would leave a major gap in the project’s financing.
A first crack in the banking wall, DNB’s move is a direct result of steadfast resistance to the invading pipeline by the besieged Standing Rock Sioux and their allies, and escalating public pressure on the banks to divest from it.
Governments come and go. But life endures, as long as earth, water and air can sustain it.
All of these face escalating assaults by powerful corporations whose twin obsessions, power and profit, are fundamentally, irredeemably anti-life.
People who defend the essentials of life from theft and degradation need and deserve any support the rest of us can offer. On Turtle Island/North America, often it’s indigenous peoples who live on the front lines, and thus are called to lead some of the most intense struggles.
Standing Rock has the highest profile right now, but there are others just as crucial, though less widely known. Some context:
This arrogant statement directly contradicts the Liberal government´s promises to follow Supreme Court rulings and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which require “free, prior, and informed consent” of Indigenous Nations to any natural resource projects affecting their traditional and treaty territories.
At the behest of its partners in the oil/gas industry, this government is poised to approve, among other dangerous pipelines (see below), the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline to carry toxic crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Pacific coast for shipping abroad. It would pass through – invade, really – the territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The Minister’s casual dismissal of the government’s legal obligations provoked strong reactions from First Nations, including this one from Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon: “Consent, it’s what we are demanding, and he will never get our consent, not for something like this. What if we gave Canada 20 Standing Rocks? I wonder if his position will change then.”
In late November this issue will be tested at the Supreme Court of Canada, in the case of yet another pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 9. It is due to carry tar sands bitumen and fracked oil to Montreal, crossing more than 120 vital waterways and 830 kilometers of land along the way, including territory of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, without their consent. (Neither does the project have consent from millions of Canadians who live along the route, the most densely populated in Canada, but the government blithely ignores this too.)
Since the Supreme Court agrees to hear only a small fraction of the cases submitted to it, clearly it considers this one vital to the people it is meant to serve. So should we all. Given the catastrophic impacts of mining and transporting tar sands and fracked oil, the fate of this case has profound implications for First Nations, for Canadians, and ultimately for all life on this earth.
Details on the case and how to support it are here.
For an eloquent view of why these struggles keep happening, meet Seneca First Nation biologist Henry Lickers, chapter 1 in Bold Scientists. An excerpt is here.
subsidizing fossil fuels at our expense and the earth’s
displacing/killing people and other beings (some slowly, some in a flash) to get at fossil fuels
making war after war to control fossil fuels, and to continue fueling the war machine
burning fossil fuels as if there was no tomorrow, and no alternative.
It can’t be said often enough, or loud enough. We have to stop. And start…
Start points are everywhere – personal, local, regional, national, global, online, on the ground. Like this one: Justice and Equity in a 100% Renewable World: a live online conversation. November 10, 2016, 10:00am Pacific/ 1:00pm Eastern. Details here.
Or this: Corporate and government response to the west coast diesel spill off Heiltsuk First Nation (see above, ‘moving crude oil by ship’) has been shamefully slow and lax. The Heiltsuk people are fund-raising online to do research on the extent of damage to their coast and fishing grounds, essential for their survival. Details here.
Or this: Haven’t got around to accosting the big banks that finance the Dakota Access Pipeline? The online grassroots organization SumOfUs has just made it a lot easier. They also include a list of other practical ways to support the resistance to DAPL. Details here.
As early winter chills the Dakota plains, a brutal war continues to escalate against Indigenous people defending land, water and life from the invading Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline is meant to carry 500,000 barrels of toxic crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois. From years of bitter experience, catastrophic spills should be expected.
The project has faced determined resistance for months from the Standing Rock Sioux and members of nearly 100 indigenous peoples from across the U.S. and Canada. They carry on a centuries’ long struggle against colonial invasion and violence throughout the Americas.
By now 100s of defenders have been arrested, clubbed, pepper-sprayed, and maced. Updates here, and here.
Solidarity protests are being held and planned across the US and in Canada. For those of us who care but are unable to participate, action is still possible:
Behind the uniformed bullies with their military and chemical weapons, attack dogs, sound-cannons, assault vehicles and helicopters, lurk corporate oil/gas plunderers (in this case aka “Energy Transfer Partners”), and behind them hired governments, and behind them all, the international banking mafia safe in their glittering towers.
As well as raking in massive subsidies from governments, the pipeline builders also need major financing from banks. According to researchers at the US nonprofit Food & Water Watch, the $3.8 billion DAPL is financed by 17 banks in the US, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and Norway. All of them have the power to determine who gets financing and for what.
Contact information for the CEOs of DAPL-complicit banks is here.
Among them are three Canadian banks. One of them, TD (indicated by *), is directly complicit in the Dakota pipeline, and all three of them provide financial backing to the vast Bakken pipeline network, of which DAPL is one piece.
CEO contact information:
* TD Securities. Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance.
Corporate Office: P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower, 66 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5K 1A2.
Last Thursday 200,000 liters of crude oil spilled into the North Saskatchewan River, soaking wildlife and forcing cities to shut off public water supply. Details here.
A great blue heron, victim of Husky Energy. (Photo: Lend a Paw Animal Rescue/Facebook)
The pipeline started to leak on Thursday July 21. It continued to spill into the river for four days, 200,000 litres of toxic crude oil, before perpetrator Husky Energy shut it down.
This is the latest of dozens of catastrophic pipeline spills across North America in the past three years. But right on cue and with dazzling gall, Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley leapt to defend the indefensible. “Even with this spill it remains the case that absolutely the safest way to transport oil and gas is by way of pipeline,” she told the Canadian Press. “Had a spill occurred on rail there might well be injuries involved. In everything you do there are risks, but I would suggest overall the risks [of pipelines] are low.”
In the sheltered halls of power perhaps, but for the rest of us out here in the real world, this is crude bullshit, insult piled on injury. Of course hauling crude oil by train has also proven catastrophic. Ships too. There is no safe way to extract, move, refine or use this stuff. It’s a disaster, start to finish. Only safe solution: Leave it in the ground.