TD Bank Gets Punked: Tar Sands Blockade Highlights Bank’s Tar Sands Support

The bank "should be held accountable" for bankrolling "the most dangerous and ecologically devastating practice on earth," says the perpetrators.
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    Activists opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline project picketed TD bank in New York City on January 8, 2013, demanding that the bank sell its stock in pipeline company TransCanada. The action is part of the national Tar Sands Blockade campaign of direct nonviolent action against the pipeline. (Photo/Michael Fleshman via Flickr)

    Activists opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline project picketed TD bank in New York City on January 8, 2013, demanding that the bank sell its stock in pipeline company TransCanada. The action is part of the national Tar Sands Blockade campaign of direct nonviolent action against the pipeline. (Photo/Michael Fleshman via Flickr)

    Tar Sands Blockade pulled a prank on TD Bank on Friday in an action to highlight the bank’s support for the Keystone XL pipeline and the tar sands, which the group described as “the most dangerous and ecologically devastating practice on earth.”

    “The bank should be held accountable” Ron Seifert, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade, told Common Dreams Friday afternoon, confirming that the group was responsible for the action.

    press release issued Friday, purportedly from the bank, said that the institution was going to begin selling its $1.6 billion stake in the tar sands carrying pipeline and “other oil sands related ventures” following President Obama’s recent climate speech and “increasing controversies and economic difficulties for Alberta’s oil sands.”  It continued:

    “Divesting from Keystone XL not only makes financial sense given the uncertainties surrounding the project, but it fits with out pledge to be ‘As Green As Our Logo’,” says TD Bank Environmental Director Diana Glassman.

    “The short term dictates of the market and the concerns of our shareholders are of course the primary motivation behind the move away from oil sands, but thankfully, doing so will serve to protect other investments in the long term.” says TD Chief Economist Craig Alexander, “Climate change is bad for business and economic stability in general, and the scientific community has been very clear about the climate change impacts of Alberta’s oil sands.”

    The release was sent out and posted to yourtdbank.com, a site that appears to mirror the actual tdbank.com site.

    Obviously getting some attention — perhaps including some praise for the recognizing the climate change impacts of the tar sands — TD Bank tweeted this morning:


    The release duped a few news outlets temporarily, including the International Business Times.

    EcoWatch, lamenting that the news turned out to be fake, wrote, “If only this were true…”.

    Yesterday, Seifert noted, the bank issued a release “bragging” it was working with the Nature Conservancy to protect 107 acres of forest—while at the same time fostering the plunder of a vastly larger area, an act that is “downright absurd and must be brought to light.”

    TD Bank, whose stated “goal is to be as green as our logo” is dishonest, said Seifert, and added in a statement later that to live up to this eco claim, the bank “must immediately divest from tar sands exploitation and Keystone XL, which will have devastating climate impacts.”

    The public should put pressure on the bank for “bankrolling the most ecologically devastating project on planet Earth” — something his group hopes will be helped today’s hoax.

    This article originally was published at Common Dreams.

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