FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2018
US Commercial Banks In For a Spring of Fossil Fuel Resistance
US commercial banks are gearing up for their annual general meetings, starting as early as this week, but they’re not alone in making plans for AGM season. A growing number of concerned communities and organizations are planning a series of interventions at this year’s bank shareholder meetings to pressure the banks to stop financing controversial oil and gas infrastructure projects.
Campaigns targeting US Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase will be making their demands known at the four banks’ respective meetings over the course of a month.
Tuesday April 17, 11:00 AM (activists rally at 9:30 AM)
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Grand Pavilion
330 Tijeras Avenue NW, Albuquerque, NM
Activities are being planned by the “Stop ETP” coalition of groups in coordination with the Pueblo Action Alliance, Red Nation, 350 New Mexico, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, and other New Mexico-based groups. The Stop ETP coalition includes Oil Change International, Earthworks, Indigenous Environmental Network, Waterkeeper Alliance, and a collection of local groups fighting Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) pipelines across the country. The coalition’s demand is for US Bank to live up to its existing commitment to stop financing oil and gas pipeline projects. US Bank CEO Andrew Cecere pledged to end project financing for the construction of oil and gas pipelines at last year’s shareholder meeting. Since that time, US Bank has raised more than $2 billion in corporate financing for companies building pipelines.
Landowners and other water protectors in the path of ETP pipelines will address bank executives inside the meeting while dozens of supporters plan to rally outside.
“US Bank’s continued financing of oil and gas pipelines, despite its commitment to the contrary, raises questions about its trustworthiness. Standing arm in arm with those in the path of these misguided projects, we are demanding answers from US Bank executives. A national movement is rising up to demand US Bank stop financing companies like Energy Transfer Partners, and we won’t stop until they live up to their own commitments,” said Brant Olson, U.S. Program Director with Oil Change International.
“ETP’s Rover Pipeline has been a disaster from day one, threatening our homes and drinking water with dozens of confirmed spills over the course of construction. ETP’s track record makes it clear that they can’t be trusted to operate in our communities, and US Bank cannot claim to be environmentally or socially responsible until they stop funding these dangerous pipeline projects,” said Sierra Club Organizing Representative Cheryl Johncox.
“US Bank will never be in good standing with our Indigenous communities as long as it continues to finance oil and gas companies, like Energy Transfer Partners. We stand resilient in the fight to protect our sacred homelands, our water, our air and our communities from oil and gas development. We demand that US Bank live up to its word and stand with us! Stand up for the sacred integrity of Mother Earth, recognize Indigenous Rights and divest from Fossil Fuels,” said National Keep it in the Ground Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network, Dallas Goldtooth.
“U.S. Bank has failed to uphold its commitments to protect indigenous sovereignty, human rights, and the global climate,” said Ethan Buckner, Earthworks Energy Campaigner. “Words don’t protect communities, actions do; U.S. bank needs to stop cozying up to bad actors like ETP, put its money where its mouth is, and stop funding oil and gas pipeline companies.”
Tuesday, April 24, 9:00 AM CDT
Des Moines Marriott Downtown
700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Activists will be engaging Wells Fargo shareholders and executives over the bank’s financing of extreme fossil fuels and the companies behind pipeline projects like Dakota Access and Keystone XL, as well as other recent scandals regarding its discriminatory lending practices, funding for the gun industry, private prisons, and more. Hundreds plan to rally outside the meeting in Des Moines to call on Wells Fargo to invest in the health and prosperity of communities, not in destructive practices and industries.
“The widespread resistance to dirty fossil fuel projects is only growing, and it’s time for Wells Fargo and other big banks to read the writing on the wall: as long as Wells Fargo continues to fund tar sands and other extreme fossil fuel projects, they are complicit in the the destruction these projects do to our water, our communities, and our climate. The movement to hold them accountable for their investments in these dangerous practices isn’t going anywhere,” said Sierra Club Campaign Representative Ben Cushing.
“Wells Fargo has continued to ignore tribal communities putting profit above lives. These projects, like Keystone XL and Dakota Access, not only destroy our earth and water, but have been proven to increase cancer and death at the source, increased drug and crime activity, and contribute to the missing and murder of Indigenous women along its route. Until they stop funding dirty tar sands and oil infrastructure, Wells Fargo will continue to have blood on its hands,” said Joye Braun, Frontline Community Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Bank of America
Wednesday, April 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Hilton Charlotte Center City
222 E Third Street, Charlotte, NC
Sierra Club and activists fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be rallying at the Bank of America shareholder meeting to hold the Charlotte-based bank accountable for financing extreme fossil fuels and dangerous projects in their home state like ACP.
“The people of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia have been asked over and over to sacrifice our safety, security, health, and economy for dangerous and unnecessary fossil fuel projects like the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline that boost the profits of polluting corporations while leaving us to bear the costs,” said Sierra Club Organizing Representative Caroline Hansley. “By funding the construction of the ACP, Bank of America is profiting off of the destruction of our communities. We’ll be at their shareholder meeting to let them know that we won’t back down until they pull their funding of this dirty, dangerous project.”
Gabby Brown, Sierra Club, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 15, 10:00 AM CDT
JPMorgan Chase Dallas Corporate Center
JPMorgan Chase, biggest US bank and largest US funder of extreme fossil fuels, will be targeted by Rainforest Action Network as well as Greenpeace. In 2017, JPMorgan Chase quadrupled its financing of tar sands projects, which include all tar sands pipelines, and increased its funding on coal mining by a factor of 21.
“Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is putting himself forward as the wise man of Wall Street who is so terribly concerned with the well-being of the world, yet his bank pours more money into tar sands, coal and other extreme fossil fuels than any other in the US or Europe,” said Rainforest Action Network Climate and Energy Program Director Patrick McCully. “Dimon’s extensive public statements almost completely ignore climate change. He shows a Trump-like lack of concern for the greatest challenge facing humanity, which is reflected in Chase’s eagerness to ramp up its funding for the most polluting fossil fuels.”
Laurel Sutherlin, Rainforest Action Network, Laurel@ran.org
Recent reports and resources:
In March, Rainforest Action Network with its partners released their annual Bank scorecard, Banking on Climate Change. The report revealed that banks increased extreme fossil fuel financing last year, led by a more than doubling in lending to tar sands companies and pipelines. See it here: https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechange2018
Oil Change International recently released a report highlighting the failed promise from U.S. Bank to end financing of oil and gas pipelines. See it here: http://priceofoil.org/2018/04/12/empty-promise-us-bank-continues-pipeline-finance/