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Profiting Off Tar Sands Disaster

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Overview

JPMorgan Chase is the #1 Wall Street funder of tar sands –– one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet. Their investments in the tar sands sector directly result in human rights abuses and environmental disasters.

At Rainforest Action Network, we know the sure-fire way to challenge corporate power is to follow the money. JPMorgan Chase has financed tar sands with over $3 billion in the past three years. Now they’re financing all four highly controversial proposed tar sands pipelines--Transcanada’s Keystone XL and Energy East; Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain and Enbridge’s Line 3.

Despite the lessons learned from the Dakota Access Pipeline and warnings to defund tar sands, JPMorgan Chase has chosen to look the other way. Now, Rainforest Action Network’s campaign goal is to push the biggest bank US banker of tar sands –– JPMorgan Chase –– out of the sector altogether. RAN and our network of allies have been putting pressure on Wall Street banks for over a decade, and we don’t stop until we get results.


Photo Below: "RAN and Mazaska Talks confront JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, at annual shareholders meeting" Credit: Jackie Fielder

Read the coalition letter delivered to JPMorgan Chase.

Why JPMorgan Chase?

As the top Wall Street funder of extreme fossil fuels, JPMorgan Chase has been a consistent bad actor, investing in and financing dirty fossil fuel projects. We’ve decided enough is enough, and are joining communities and organizations around the country to launch a campaign to hold Chase accountable.

Last December, 21 banks were part of “revolving credit” loans that gave TransCanada a C$5.5 billion credit card to fund the company’s business, tar sands pipelines and all. JPMorgan Chase was one of the lead banks arranging the credit.

Then in the spring of 2017, JPMorgan Chase faced a major test of its talk on Indigenous rights and climate change — whether to fund Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Trans Mountain would enable the expanded extraction of tar sands — violating the right to free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities at the point of extraction and along the pipeline’s path, and locking us and future generations into one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive forms of oil.

Despite the many warnings, JPMorgan Chase chose to look the other way. Financial institutions have escaped accountability for the real world consequences of their investments. It’s time for that impunity has come to an end.

With almost two decades of experience with Wall Street banks, and building on momentum from a number of Indigenous and grassroots-led struggles, we are undertaking a critical campaign to get JPMorgan Chase out of tar sands to protect Indigenous and human rights and align its/their business with a 1.5 degree world.

Take Action Tell JPMorgan Chase to #DefundTarSands

 

Photo Below: "Oil sands refineries" Photo Credit: Jennifer Grant, Pembina Institute

Why Tar Sands

The tar sands sector spells disaster for both the climate and human rights. With the Paris climate conference calling for the world to work to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees, an immediate halt to all tar sands infrastructure investment and development is urgently needed. 

Extracting, processing, and burning fuel from Alberta oil sands creates about 20% more greenhouse gases than fuels produced from conventionally extracted crude oil. Due to the tar sands’ extra heavy bitumen, the refining process requires more energy and thus generates more emissions.

The global climate crisis is already a human rights crisis, with tens of millions of people around the world facing impacts from hurricanes, drought, wildfires and rising sea levels.

The science is clear. Leading experts have singled out continued tar sands exploitation as “game over for the climate.” Canadian environmental authorities have documented that if left unchecked, greenhouse gas pollution from the Alberta oil sands is expected to increase by 124 percent by 2030. Expanded tar sands oil extraction would also result in significant additional deforestation of of Alberta’s boreal forests. These forests serve as a critical carbon sink, source of water, and habitat for endangered species.

The tar sands sector as a whole violates fundamental human rights. From the tar sands mining, to spills into critical waterways, to the pollution-producing oil refining process, communities along the entire processing route are deeply impacted.

The extraction process is so environmentally hazardous that it has been called “slow industrial genocide” by the Indigenous Environmental Network. Indigenous peoples are experiencing life-or-death threats to their water supply, their food supply, their livelihoods — essentially devastating their way of life. A 2014 study from the University of Manitoba concluded that the high levels of cancer in Fort Chipewyan are “significantly and positively associated” with employment in the tar sands as well as the consumption of traditional foods and locally caught fish.

At a time when the oil and gas supermajors are fleeing tar sands, JPMorgan Chase continues to take a leading role in bankrolling this disastrous sector. It financed two of the three biggest tar sands operators, Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources, in their acquisitions of billions of new barrels of reserves from ConocoPhillips and Shell.

Photo Below: "Protesters call on JPMorgan Chase to defund tar sands" Credit: Toben Dilworth

The Pipelines

JPMorgan Chase is financing all four proposed tar sands pipelines; Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion, Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement, TransCanada's Energy East, and TransCanada’s Keystone XL.

Expansion of tar sands oil extraction driven by pipelines would not only destroy huge swathes of forests, it would significantly pollute local water sources and would tether future generations to continued emissions from tar sands production, over the same timeframe when global emissions must go down to zero.

Tar sands pipelines, whether to the Pacific, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes or Atlantic, scar the land and threaten the water of Indigenous and frontline communities across North America, and are often rammed through without the free, prior and informed consent of impacted Indigenous peoples.

More than 150 First Nations and Tribes have signed a treaty opposing all tar sands pipelines, rail cars, and tanker traffic from crossing their traditional lands and waters. By financing tar sands pipelines, which are opposed by the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion and the companies backing those pipelines — JPMorgan Chase runs a risk of contributing to further Indigenous rights abuses and the disruption of local economies and water supplies for generations.

This constitutes a violation of corporate responsibilities to respect human rights under the U.N. Guiding Principles on Human Rights, which hold that businesses must avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their activities or business relationships.

TransCanada’s Keystone XL

Keystone XL would carry over 800,000 barrels a day of toxic tar sands bitumen from the tar sands fields of Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, and from there to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refining and shipping. The proposed route crosses tribal lands and sacred sites, as well as ranches and farms.

TransCanada has failed to obtain consent from tribes along the route and the communities that stand to lose their source of drinking water. Numerous tribal nations have repeatedly expressed their adamant opposition to Keystone XL. Ninety-two landowners across the state of Nebraska have refused to sign easements with TransCanada because of the threat that a leak or spill from this pipeline poses to their land and livelihood, as well as the Ogallala Aquifer.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Kinder Morgan’s highly controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline, which is planned to take tar sands bitumen from Alberta to the port of Burnaby in British Columbia, would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day. The existing Trans Mountain pipeline has 82 leak incidents under its belt, including four major oil spills.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline will potentially create just as many human rights violations as the Dakota Access pipeline, particularly with regard to the lack of Free and Prior Informed Consent from Indigenous peoples. The ongoing resistance to this project has been called the "Standing Rock of the North."

Enbridge's Line 3 Expansion

The Line 3 so-called “Replacement” Project is a proposal for a new pipeline that would cover more than 1,000 miles (1,660 km) from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, transporting an average of 760,000 barrels of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands each day, with a capacity of 844,000 barrels per day.

The current Line 3 pipeline carries a host of problems and with no pipeline abandonment requirements other than leaving the corroding pipe in the ground, Enbridge’s proposal will leave a lasting legacy of contamination. Instead of cleaning up its old mess, Enbridge instead proposes a brand new route for its new pipeline, creating a destructive corridor through the headwaters of the Mississippi River, the heart of Minnesota's lake country, wetlands, and some of the largest and most productive wild rice beds in the world.

Transcanada’s Energy East

Energy East faces major opposition from Indigenous Peoples and Canadians across the pipeline route. It would put the drinking water of Canadians across six provinces at risk of an oil spill and the Bay of Fundy at risk of a tanker spill.

The CA$12 billion pipeline would be the longest in North America when complete. The Pembina Institute released a report estimating the project's upstream impact as being between 30 and 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

 

Banks and Climate Change

It’s no secret that one of the biggest drivers of climate change is fossil fuel production and consumption. And the finance industry plays a critical role in supporting that industry.

Financial institutions have the power to shape our energy future. As we speak, the world’s biggest banks are profiting from the very industries that put our world in peril. Between 2014 and 2016, banks poured a staggering US$290 billion into extreme fossil fuels.

RAN is pushing the banking sector to cut financing to new and existing dirty energy projects. In 2015, pressure from RAN and our allies prompted nine major U.S. and European banks to adopt broad-based commitments to reduce financing for the coal industry. Our new target: Get JPMorgan Chase out of tar sands.

Take Action

JP Morgan Chase is the #1 Wall Street funder of tar sands oil — one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet. Tell Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, to protect Indigenous rights and our environment.

Tell JPMorgan Chase to #DefundTarSands