Athens, OH, Aug. 13, 2021 – About 40 people gathered at the Athens County Courthouse across from Chase Bank in uptown Athens on Friday as part of a national call for Chase Bank to defund Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline, which is being built through northern Minnesota and Indigenous lands in violation of U.S. treaties. The pipeline, more than 1000 miles long, will carry tar sands from Canada to refineries on Lake Superior. The refined product is largely destined for export. Speakers, songs, and chants called out Chase as the world’s largest funder of fossil fuels and called on people to pull their money out of Chase Bank and let Chase know why they are taking this action. (see divest.earth/ for instructions, a model letter to send Chase, and a list of the credit cards from which Chase profits.) Speakers informed the crowd that over 600 people Water Protectors have been arrested and that Enbridge is paying local county sheriffs to carry out these arrests. Recent MN county actions against Water Protectors have involved use of tear gas and rubber bullets, with increasingly violent arrests of the nonviolent participants. Rally organizers encouraged attendees to consider join the effort in Minnesota and assured anyone going of extensive financial and logistical support. And speakers urged attendees to contact Biden (via whitehouse.gov since comment phone lines are not currently functional!) to demand he cancel Line 3 permits. One speaker noted that Biden’s campaign pledge to be a climate president cannot be met unless he cancels Enbridge’s permits. Over 100 informational fliers were distributed to passersby.
Organized by Athens County’s Future Action Network (ACFAN), the rally was led by three local women, all grandmothers, who had taken nonviolent direct action last month at Line 3. Locked to the entrance gate at an Enbridge pipeyard in northern MN on July 2, they blocked access for three hours before being arrested and jailed for 24 hours. Like many Water Protectors in recent nonviolent actions at Line 3, they are facing felony charges. A court hearing has not been set.
The women, Claudia Sheehan, Judy Smucker, and Anne Sparks, issued a statement about their commitment to this effort:
“We call on Chase Bank, the world’s largest funder of fossil fuels, to stop funding Canada’s Enbridge pipelines. Line 3 will carry tar sands, the most carbon-intensive form of crude oil, under 800 wetlands and 200 bodies of water, crossing the headwaters of the Mississippi in two places in northern MN. Tar sands oil cannot be cleaned up from water. (Enbridge’s Grand Rapids spill, the largest inland spill in U.S. history, has left the sticky tar sands at the bottom of the Kalamazoo River for decades.) Tar sands release three times more greenhouse gases than conventional crude, and this oil does not provide any benefit to Americans, since it is refined for export.”
The women noted, “Enbridge’s permits have been fought for seven years because they don’t follow U.S. laws and Indigenous treaty rights. Enbridge is destroying fresh water even during a severe drought and is draining lakes completely, threatening wildlife as well as Indigenous livelihoods dependent on wild rice lakes.”
They conclude, “Don’t be fooled by Chase’s greenwashing with claims to fight climate chaos by lending money to pipeline companies that may use some solar power to build their pipelines. Chase’s investments are destroying our planet. Fossil fuel build-out must stop now. We have no more time left for delay.”
Anne Sparks added, “If your money is in Chase, you’re
supporting the fossil fuel industry. We must end fossil fuel dependency now and
be able to tell our grandchildren that we finally heeded the dire warnings all
 Banking on Climate Chaos 2021, ran.org