— Alliance of 31 First Nations
This week, despite broad public opposition, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. The Northern Gateway pipeline, seen as a backup option to the Keystone XL pipeline that is currently mired down in a political quagmire in the U.S., would ship 500,000 barrels of bitumen a day through British Columbia to the Pacific coast.
The approval sparked loud protest from First Nations groups and environmentalists. Opposition to Enbridge has already been heightened in British Columbia and with the Harper government’s announcement, opponents took to the streets of Vancouver and promised fierce resistance to the pipeline.
First Nations groups in Canada, which have long fought the pipeline, vowed to defend their land and their sovereignty with no surrender. In an unprecedented show of unity, 31 First Nations and tribal councils have signed a letter announcing their intention to "vigorously pursue all lawful means to stop the Enbridge project."
Furthermore the Uni’stot’en Clan has maintained a blockade encampment in the path of Enbridge and other proposed pipelines on their territory in British Columbia since 2009. Upon the Northern Gateway announcement they stated they “are prepared to continue to defend their territories against the incursion of government and industry.”
The environmental left has also vowed to fight back against Northern Gateway. Direct actions, protests and legal battles are being planned to stop the pipeline.
Immediately after the announcement, environmentalists launched sit-ins in Member of Parliament offices in opposition to the decision. Four were arrested at the office of James Moore, Conservative MP and Minister of Industry.
One of the four was Jackie DeRoo, MBA, a mother and retired businesswoman: “I'd never even been to a protest until Northern Gateway came along and I began to learn about climate change,” she said. “If ordinary citizens like me are willing to get arrested to stop this project, Harper can expect blockades that will make Clayoquot look like a picnic.”
At the same time as the Northern Gateway pipeline and Keystone XL campaigns, Enbridge have lobbied for a system of pipelines to send hundreds of thousands of barrels of tar sands south to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Enbridge has multiple pipelines proposed in the United States.
The oil giants are not backing off on draining the Alberta tar sands of every last drop of oil. Nor should the opposition back off in the slightest.
Photo: Direct action at Minister of Industry James Moore's office
Addiction - noun \ə-ˈdik-shən, a-\: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. (Merriam-Webster)Citi has a problem. Despite renewing its vows in 2009 to tackle "Environmental and Social Risk Management," including mountaintop removal coal mining, Citi is relapsing into fossil fuel addiction. Last year, Citi raised more than $34 billion for the coal and oil industries, but raised less than two percent of that amount for companies developing renewable energy like wind and solar. Dirty deals led by Citi last year included a $500 million bond issued by Transcanada, proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline. The $7 billion pipeline would carry crude oil strip-mined from Canada's tar sands 1,800 miles south to the Gulf States for refining. The project would triple US oil imports from the tar sands and threaten the largest fresh-water aquifer in the world, while keeping the United States addicted to oil for many decades to come. Citi also led the combination of Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources. At over $7 billion, the acquisition creates the largest mountaintop removal coal mining company in the country. MTR has devastated the Appalachian landscape and displaced hundreds of families from the region. Other low points from 2010 include raising $1.3 billion for BP and Transocean — the companies responsible for the Gulf oil spill. Citi needs to stop making excuses and denying that it has a problem. That's why RAN is staging an intervention. Today, people around the world are making a difference in all of our futures by picking up the phone and calling a banker at Citi. This is no email petition, we're actually putting our supporters on the phone with the bankers that need to know about Citi's financing of fossil fuels so that they can help their company change course. If you are a Citi employee reading this and want get in touch with RAN, please email email@example.com.
HSBC has policy restrictions where customers are involved in the principal processes of mining, extraction and upgrading. We undertake a balanced analysis of positive and negative impacts to understand whether customers operate in accordance with good practice, focusing on factual data and trends where available. Specifically, we analyse: GHG intensity; water usage; land and tailings pond reclamation; the grievance process in place for local communities; and the extent to which a customer discloses standards and performance.For the bank we ranked 13th among tar sands financiers last year, it ain't perfect. The new policy lacks any timelines, targets, or definitions. And the devil's always in those details. You have to wonder, for instance, about that "GHG intensity" commitment. Last year the banking giant underwrote $625 million in bonds for TransCanada. TransCanada is now facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory hurdles over it's proposed "Keystone XL" tar sands pipeline to Texas. In a request to delay approval of the pipeline, the EPA issued concerns that the product it would carry is 82% more GHG-intensive than conventional crude. The "local communities" commitment also raises questions. HSBC raised $100 million in bonds for Enbridge last year. Enbridge is the company working with Chinese oil companies to push the "Northern Gateway" tar sands pipeline through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to a tanker port in Northern British Columbia. More than 60 First Nation communities have declared their opposition to the project, calling it a violation of their rights and the integrity of their traditional territories. Pure greenwash? Only time will tell. And HSBC's dealings (or not) with Enbridge and TransCanada will be early indicators. Meantime, at the very least, the new HSBC policy is a welcome sign that banks are beginning to recognize that tar sands is a risky business. For those keeping score, international banks that have developed sector-specific policies that cover tar sands are (in chronological order):