Twenty-six 350 Seattle activists were arrested today in an incredibly successful disruption of business at thirteen Chase Bank branches across the city– a major escalation in our campaign to keep banks from financing projects catastrophic to the climate and to indigenous rights. JP Morgan Chase is one of the biggest funders of tar sands development; the bank did not respond to our’ demand two weeks ago that it issue a statement indicating that it would not fund Keystone XL, or any other new tar sands infrastructure.
In a continuation of the successful partnership to persuade the City of Seattle to take its money out of Wells Fargo due to DAPL funding in February, we planned the campaign with local indigenous leaders, who also led the big and beautiful action downtown.
“We have to withdraw our consent from business as usual,” said 350 Seattle’s Valerie Costa “We know that if we stay on the path we’re on, it ends in disaster. Today we showed one way that people can withdraw consent.”
KXL still has no project-level loans–it’s not too late to stop it. With a climate denier in office, we have to take the fight straight to the funders, and we intend to make this project as toxic politically as it is toxic for the planet.
“Today was a success–we shut down banks and showed Chase that we’re not going to tolerate these toxic projects,” says Muckleshoot tribal member Rachel Heaton.
The entire action was live-streamed, with anchors narrating the process and explaining why we believe it’s essential to stop business as usual, especially with regard to new tar sands infrastructure.
It’s important to keep in mind that investors are currently being courted for funding of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline–another tar sands pipeline, devastating to indigenous rights and the climate. Actions like today’s can help to make banks reconsider the calculus of financing such projects.
Speaking of the banks’ stakes in the pipelines, 350 Seattle’s Ahmed Gaya pointed out “It’s a relatively small percentage of their overall portfolio. If you can make that very small part … have a vastly disproportionate effect on their public image, that’s very persuasive.”