On the eve of the Super Bowl, hundreds across the nation rally to expose U.S. Bank’s ties to the controversial pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners.
Minneapolis, MN – Hundreds of Indigenous water protectors, concerned Minnesotans, and activists from around the country rallied today at the U.S. Bank Headquarters to demand that U.S. Bank uphold its promise to divest from oil and gas pipelines, including those by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The rally comes as U.S. Bank drives a massive public relations campaign surrounding the hosting of the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank stadium in Minneapolis. U.S. Bank is at the center of a growing campaign by indigenous, climate and community groups demanding it lives up to its own promises to stop financing fossil fuel projects.
In April 2017 U.S. Bank announced their Environmental Responsibility Policy which stated the bank, “does not provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines.” Since this statement, U.S. Bank joined credit facilities totaling $5 billion with Energy Transfer Partners.
Over the past year Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has been responsible for violating Indigenous sovereignty by compromising and destroying sacred sites and burial grounds and enabling violence against water protectors by ETPs private security contractor, TigerSwan, who infiltrated and provoked violence at the nonviolent gathering in Standing Rock, ND.
In addition, Energy Transfer Partners has caused 328 dangerous incidents resulting in oil or gas spills, injury or death to a person, an emergency shutdown, explosion, fire, and/or property damage since 2006. All of these incidents and acts violate U.S. Bank’s principles.
In light of Energy Transfer Partners continuing to put communities at risk by building new projects like the Bayou Bridge, Mariner, Rover and Trans-Pecos Pipelines, Indigenous leaders, environmental justice groups, and activists rallied on the eve of the Super Bowl LII at the U.S. Bank Headquarters to hold U.S. Bank accountable and to demand that the bank commit to their promises and end their partnership with Energy Transfer Partners.
The rally began with a blessing by local Indigenous leaders and was followed by a speak out which included speakers from across the nation, including members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Protesters then marched from the US Bank Headquarters to the Nicollet bridge. This was a nonviolent action, when asked to disperse by local law enforcement protesters complied.
The following are statements from organizers and participants at the rally:
Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Sioux, Indigenous Environmental Network:
“Due to the broken promises by U.S. Bank and their funding of pipelines such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, we are already witnessing pipeline spills and accidents that are putting the environment and people at risk. We will not allow U.S. Bank or any entity for that matter, break their promises to the people, especially when it concerns the health and safety of our communities. Funding companies like Energy Transfer Partners is funding environmental disaster. It puts millions of people in jeopardy, violates tribal sovereignty, tramples on landowners rights, pollutes the air and water, turns a blind eye to the many horrific safety violations of this company, and condones such acts as bulldozing our ancestors’ graves. We demand U.S. Bank hold its promise to stop funding these pipelines and to stop threatening our land and water.”
Mysti Babineau, Anishinaabe, Climate Justice Organizer for MN350:
“By investing in Energy Transfer Partners U.S. Bank continues to fund pollution, corruption, climate chaos, suppression of constitutional rights, and attacks on indigenous people. We stand united against their disregard for life.”
Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux Decolonizer, Seeding Sovereignty and Indigenous Iowa:
“U.S. Bank is perpetuating the cycle of colonization that disenfranchises and oppresses those who are not ‘privileged’ enough to be part of middle/upper class American society. U.S. Bank funds the extraction industry and allows government-backed corporate conglomerates to move into poor communities and create havoc. Not only does the extraction industry add to climate change and destroy local environments during construction, spills, and explosions but it also institutes ‘man-camps’ which bring added violence and sexual assault to local communities. As an Indigenous woman, I’ve seen and heard first hand what man-camps have done to our First Nation communities, and it is frightening. These camps are one of many institutions in society that contribute to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, men, and children. This is on you, U.S. Bank.”
Ruth Breech, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network:
“U.S. Bank’s announcement to stop project finance for oil and gas pipelines proved disingenuous and misleading when they took advantage of a loophole, and continued corporate finance of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline. U.S. Bank did the right thing when they dropped support of Enbridge and the Line 3 pipeline. Now they have an opportunity — and an obligation — to do the right thing again: Drop Energy Transfer Partners. RAN is proud to stand with Indigenous leadership and water protectors in this critical fight.”
Ethan Buckner, Earthworks Energy Campaigner:
“U.S. Bank promised not to finance the construction of oil and gas pipelines. But they have. They’re trying to have their cake and eat it too by financing companies like Energy Transfer Partners that build pipelines rather than directly invest in the pipelines themselves. But that’s a distinction without a difference. ETP doesn’t respect indigenous rights, tramples landowners’ property, pollutes our air, water, and climate, and condones violence upon those who oppose them. It’s time for U.S. Bank to be the leader it claims to be and terminate its financial relationship with Energy Transfer Partners.”
Brant Olson, ClimateTruth.org
“U.S. Bank’s Environmental Policy is an empty promise. By using sneaky language, U.S. Bank created the impression it was making a bold move, but in fact the policy didn’t change much. U.S. Bank doesn’t provide ‘project finance’ anymore to oil and gas pipelines, but it has financed more than $1.4 billion for the companies that build them. To the environment and communities threatened by these pipelines, the difference is meaningless. The pipeline gets funded and built either way, and U.S. Bank is complicit in helping these climate-destroying, community-imperiling pipelines move forward.”
Lori Glover, Big Bend Defense Coalition/Two Rivers Camp:
“When big banks turn a blind eye to social and environmental injustices of corporations they finance, they promote greed, corruption, and cruelty. Through Energy Transfer Partners, U.S. Bank profits from the brutality and incarceration of citizens protecting communities, destruction of private property, destruction of vital ecosystems, and the unfettered escalation of climate change in my backyard of Far West Texas and across the nation. Divest, U.S. Bank, and be a beacon of light for the world.”
For more information on the campaign to push U.S. Bank to stop financing Energy Transfer Partners, see: http://stopetp.org/USBANK/
On the eve of the Super Bowl, communities from across the nation will rally to expose US Bank’s ties to the corrupt oil company, Energy Transfer Partners.
Saturday, February 3, 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM CST
What: A rally organized by Indigenous communities and environmental activists from across the nation a day before the Super Bowl at US Bank’s Minneapolis, calling on US Bank to divest from oil and gas pipelines, to cut ties with Energy Transfer Partners, and to uphold their own environmental policies to ensure a safe and clean planet.
Where: US Bank Headquarters, 800 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN
Who: The protest is being organized by MN350, Indigenous Iowa, Oil Change International, ClimateTruth.org Action, Indigenous Environmental Network, Earthworks, Bold Iowa, and Seeding Sovereignty.
Speakers will include:
- Indigenous leaders from Seeding Sovereignty, Indigenous Environmental Network, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
- Activists from MN350 and other local organizations
- National activists in the #StopETP coalition
* More speakers to be confirmed.
Visuals: Colorful banners, hundreds in attendance, street theater
Water Protectors from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and beyond are coming to Minneapolis to demand that US Bank keep its promise to divest from oil and gas pipelines, including Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Last month US Bank broke its promise to stop financing oil and gas pipelines — pocketing millions in fees from a massive $6 billion credit deal with ETP. As the Super Bowl spotlight turns to US Bank Stadium, we’re making sure the world knows that US Bank funds companies that attack water protectors.
U.S. Bank Connection to Pipeline Projects:
- After financing part of the Dakota Access/Bakken pipeline (DAPL) in 2016, U.S. Bank has significantly widened its financial involvement with Energy Transfer. According to SEC records, U.S. Bank:
- Recommitted to lend to Energy Transfer Partners, signing on to a 5-year, $4 billion credit agreement and a $1-year, $1 billion credit agreement in December 2017 — amounts committed were not disclosed;
- Underwrote $281.25 million in bonds for ETP in September 2017, while also serving as a trustee — enjoying millions of dollars in underwriting and trusteeship fees; and
- Also served as trustee to Energy Transfer Equity, ETP’s parent entity, for a $1 billion bond issue in October 2017.
- All three of these deals came after U.S. Bank touted its new policy, in April 2017, saying it would not finance pipelines, in response to public pressure galvanized by resistance to ETP and DAPL at Standing Rock. Presumably the bank’s argument is that it’s not financing pipelines directly, and that financing credit agreements for general purpose use does not count.
- Despite its new policy, U.S. Bank is financing many oil and gas pipeline companies, as well as oil and gas production companies. Other oil and gas companies that enjoy financing from U.S. Bank “for general purpose use” include:
- Phillips 66 (commitments of $20.45 million and $100 million), and Marathon Petroleum (commitments of $140 million, $108 million and $43 million) — both companies hold ownership stakes in DAPL, and they are the primary shippers of oil through DAPL; and
- Williams ($66 million and $160 million); Enterprise Products ($76.3 million and $203.4 million); EQT Corp. ($135.75 million); Plains All American ($26.5 million and ~$40 million); DTE Energy ($29.7 million); National Fuel Gas ($97.5 million); Cabot Oil & Gas ($105 million); Puget Sound Energy ($56.7 million (for Tacoma LNG facility)); and likely others.
- ETP and its subsidiaries are responsible for causing 328 dangerous incidents resulting in a release, spill, injury or death to a person, an emergency shutdown, explosion, fire, and/or property damage since 2006.
- ETP violates Indigenous sovereignty, including compromising sacred sites and burial grounds contrary to NAGPRA and NHPA.
- ETP pursues eminent domain for private profit, forcing landowners to sign over easements. Landowners are consistently lied to about risks, and often do not receive the compensation they are promised. ETP’s leaky pipelines rely on compressor stations and processing plants that emit chemicals known to be harmful to humans, animals and the climate.
- In 2016, nine Iowa landowners and the Iowa Sierra Club filed a lawsuit that will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this spring. The lawsuit claims that the Iowa Utilities Board illegally issued ETP’s subsidiary, Dakota Access, a permit and the authority to use eminent domain. Independent analysts say the landowners have a strong case, based on Iowa’s 2006 law specifying that eminent domain can be used only for a true public purpose.
- ETP enables violence against water protectors through, among others, ETP’s private security contractor, TigerSwan, which infiltrated and provoked violence at the nonviolent gathering at Oceti Sakowin and maintained a heavy presence in Iowa through last summer.
- On January 25th, construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline began.
- Bayou Bridge threatens drinking water. The pipeline route runs through Bayou Lafourche, the drinking water supply for the United Houma Nations and at least 300,000 people total. This potential impact remains overlooked and unconsidered.
- Bayou Bridge threatens wetlands. Wetlands are sponges for floodwaters. They are vital to a sustainable Southern Louisiana. A Louisiana state agency, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, is frantically working to save our coast. Bayou Bridge runs directly counter to CPRA’s Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
- Bayou Bridge will worsen flooding. Degradation of wetland storm buffers will be significant. The Atchafalaya Basin also drains floodwaters. A new pipeline will act as a dam, disrupting the Basin’s natural flow and preventing floodwater discharge. Acadia and Lafayette Parishes would be especially affected. This sort of water management is furthermore inconsistent with the Atchafalaya Basin Plan.
- Bayou Bridge is a takeover of private lands by eminent domain. This pipe would potentially use eminent domain to seize private property and create spoil banks of excess dirt in its path. These spoil banks block the free flow of water, flooding landowners and obstructing waterways used by fisherfolk and boaters.
- Bayou Bridge is not in the public interest. Our country already produces more energy than it needs. The fracked oil from Bayou Bridge will be sold to the highest bidders. The pipe would simply provide fuel for greedy interests. People are more important than profits.
- Bayou Bridge represents Energy Transfer Partners. That’s the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, the same company terrorizing peaceful water protectors and taking land from Midwestern farmers by force. It’s a company with a terrible accident record that hasn’t developed disaster-response plans for Bayou Bridge. The company’s existing right-of-way for Bayou Bridge is even out of permit compliance.
- Climate change is key. Our region already feels its effects. A NOAA study found that human-caused warming made the great Louisiana floods of March and August 40% more likely.
- On January 3rd, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) suspended construction permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline due to a number of safety and environmental violations.1 Mariner East 2 is being built by Sunoco Pipeline, L.P., an affiliate of Energy Transfer Partners, and has already been marred by numerous construction mishaps, spills, and violations.
- Since construction began in the spring of 2017 there have been over 100 instances of inadvertent returns. Over 30 private drinking wells have been contaminated and destroyed..
- ETP has been found to be in violation of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) permits, using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in river crossings areas where they had permits for open cut construction.
- There are over 105,000 Pennsylvanians whose lives are at risk from the pipeline’s contents. The three lines that make up this project will transmit colorless, odorless, heavier than air combustibles that include butane, ethane, and pentane. Within the probable impact radius of these lines are 40 schools and several Environmental Justice Designated Census Tracts.
- The hydrocarbons in these lines do not contain odorant, making it extremely dangerous for the people who live, learn, and work near the lines, because they will be used in the production of plastics in Europe. Ineos Corporation will transport these gases across the Atlantic to Scotland and Norway where they are “cracked” into plastic pellets. The cracking process leads to climate change and the plastics are becoming a global issue for the health of our oceans and sea life.
- Mariner is a prime example of the frack to plastic to waste journey of a hydrocarbon and the global impacts of the oil and gas industry.