Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

U.S. Bank Raises $2 Billion in Oil and Gas Pipeline Finance Despite Pledging to Stop

Business

Since revising its environmental policy last year, U.S. Bank financed more than $2 billion to companies building oil and gas pipelines, including an estimated $480 million to Energy Transfer Partners, new analysis released Thursday by Oil Change International concludes.


U.S. Bank CEO Andrew Cecere won praise from indigenous rights and climate advocates in April 2017 when he announced to shareholders that U.S. Bank would "not finance the construction of oil and gas pipelines." Days later, U.S. Bank issued a revised environmental policy significantly narrower in scope than what Cecere described, limited to only project financing which had never been a significant line of business for the bank.

New research conducted by Oil Change International shows that since Cecere's promise, U.S. Bank financing activity with oil and gas pipeline builders has continued apace. The analysis comes days ahead of the U.S. Bank annual shareholder meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico where pipeline opponents plan to question executives about Cecere's empty promise.

"U.S. Bank says trust and ethics are its core values, but its actions seem to show the opposite" said Brant Olson, U.S. program director for Oil Change International. "Adopting a meaningless policy to create the impression of care for the environment paints a troubling picture of U.S. Bank's priorities."

The analysis released Thursday finds that since announcing its commitment in April 2017:

  • U.S. Bank has participated in dozens of deals with pipeline companies, worth more than $40 billion, with U.S. Bank's estimated financial commitment totaling more than $2 billion.
  • U.S. Bank has served as a bookrunner or manager, meaning it was a lead financial institution, on numerous pipeline deals totaling more than $17 billion, of which U.S. Bank raised more than $930 million.

Of particular interest is financing for pipelines being built by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a company notorious for its controversial role in building the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. In addition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners is seeking to build numerous oil and gas pipelines throughout the U.S. which have been met with massive resistance as well as numerous construction mishaps, violations and mandated work stoppages.

Oil Change International's analysis finds that U.S. Bank continues to finance ETP projects as follows:

  • U.S. Bank raised an estimated $480 million for ETP in transactions worth $7.25 billion since April 2017.
  • U.S. Bank underwrote two bond issues together worth $2.25 billion for Sunoco (a subsidiary of ETP), with U.S. Bank directly responsible for more than $280 million.
  • U.S. Bank was a lender on two revolving credit facilities for ETP, responsible for an estimated $200 million of $5 billion in total credit.

The analysis, "Empty Promise: U.S. Bank Continues Pipeline Finance" was published by Oil Change International in partnership with Indigenous Environmental Network, Earthworks, Greenpeace, MN 350, and Rainforest Action Network.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less
A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy on July 4, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images

In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Climate activist Greta Thunberg discusses EU plans to tackle the climate emergency with Parliament's environment committee on March 4, 2020. CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2020 – Source: EP

By Abdullahi Alim

The 2008 financial crisis spurred a number of youth movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. A decade later, this anger resurfaced in a new wave of global protests, from Hong Kong to Beirut to London, only this time driven by the children of the 2008 financial crisis.

Read More Show Less
A climate activist holds a victory sign in Washington, DC. after President Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal on November 6, 2015. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read More Show Less
A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
The Colima fir tree's distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. Agustín del Castillo

By Agustín del Castillo

For 20 years, the Colima fir tree (Abies colimensis) has been at the heart of many disputes to conserve the temperate forests of southern Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. Today, the future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will advance further and whether neighboring communities will unite to protect it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Independent environmental certifications offer a better indicator of a product's eco credentials, including labor conditions for workers involved in production. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jeanette Cwienk

This summer's high street fashions have more in common than styles and colors. From the pink puff-sleeved dream going for just €19.99 ($22.52) at H&M, to Zara's elegant €12.95 ($14.63) halter-neck dress, clothing stores are alive with cheap organic cotton.

"Sustainable" collections with aspirational own-brand names like C&A's "Wear the change," Zara's "join life" or H&M's "CONSCIOUS" are offering cheap fashion and a clean environmental conscience. Such, at least, is the message. But is it really that simple?

Read More Show Less