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Fredericton chapter calls on Canadian banks to divest from Dakota Access Pipeline

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter is calling on major Canadian banks to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It would cross 200 waterways, including the Missouri River, which is upstream of Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s main source of drinking water, and the Mississippi River.

Fredericton chapter activist and Energy East-New Brunswick campaigner Mark D’Arcy writes, “A large crowd gathered at Fredericton City Hall on Tuesday, November 15th and marched through the city, stopping at the TD Bank, Scotiabank, and HSBC locations in downtown Fredericton.”

Rabble.ca has noted, “According to a report from Food and Water Watch, an American consumer rights watchdog, at least three Canadian banks — Scotiabank, TD and RBC — are helping to bankroll the 1,800 km pipeline that travels directly through the traditional and treatied territories of the Standing Rock Sioux. TD Securities is directly financing $365 million toward the construction of the DAPL and, additionally, the oil and gas infrastructure projects of one of the pipeline’s joint owners, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. RBC and Scotiabank are providing $341 million and $100 million respectively toward Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, another joint owner of the DAPL.”

There are now media reports of solidarity actions in the United States involving people locking themselves to the front doors of TD Bank locations in Philadelphia, Boston, Worcester, and Providence. On September 12, the Council of Canadians was at an Indigenous-led action at a Vancouver branch to draw attention to TD investments in the pipeline.

It should also be noted that Calgary-based Enbridge paid $1.5 billion for a 27.6 per cent stake in the pipeline this past August.

The Washington Post now reports, “President-elect Donald Trump [has] sold off his shares of Energy Transfer Partners, according to his spokeswoman Hope Hicks. Trump’s share, which in a May 2015 disclosure was listed at between $500,000 and $1 million, had fallen to less than $50,000 by the time he sold it in the summer of 2016, according to a disclosure earlier this year. The sale would eliminate one possible conflict of interest for Trump, who has vowed to speed up permits for oil and gas pipelines in order to spur more oil and gas development in the United States.”

Protests have intensified in recent weeks as construction for the pipeline gets closer to the Missouri River. Earlier this week, police sprayed water protectors with a water cannon in sub-zero temperatures and threw a concussion grenade at 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky resulting in serious injuries to her arm. More than 300 people were treated for hypothermia and Wilansky remains hospitalized with her father saying without an amputation the best case scenario was “a 10-20 percent functionality” of her arm. At this point, 528 people have been arrested since August for defending the river from the pipeline.

The Council of Canadians first expressed its solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux on August 19 and since then our chapters in Regina, Chilliwack, Kent County, Montreal, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Prince Edward Island, Peterborough-Kawarthas, London and Victoria, along with staff in Vancouver and Ottawa, have participated in solidarity actions.

On October 30, we sent 1000 pairs of earplugs to the water protectors at Standing Rock given they have been subjected to police use of sound cannons that cause great pain and permanent hearing loss. We have also provided some support to assist Indigenous allies to travel from Manitoba and Nova Scotia to Standing Rock as well as to enable them to bring back reports to inform campaigns here against the Energy East, Trans Mountain, Line 3 and other pipelines.