“The people of Rhode Island need to know that Chase Bank is a major funder of the company building the Line 3 pipeline, and that Chase remains the top funder of fossil fuels worldwide.”

From 350.org

The fight against climate change is a fight for justice. People all over the world are feeling the impacts, but the people suffering most are the ones who have done the least to cause the problem.

The work we do — and the ways we do it — has to address that injustice. That means listening to the communities who are getting hit hardest, amplifying the voices that are being silenced, and following the leadership of the people on the frontlines of the crisis.

Join us this Monday June 28 at 11:30 to protest at Chase’s first branch in northern Rhode Island: its new Smithfield branch at 438 Putnam Pike. Chase must stop funding the Line 3 pipeline, its massive worldwide funding of fossil fuels, and deforestation and start respecting human rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and our right to have a livable planet. JPMorgan Chase is also the world’s #1 funder of the fossil fuel industry. Banks, asset managers, insurance companies and institutional investors must stop funding, insuring and investing in climate destruction.

Where: Chase Bank, 438 Putnam Pike (Rt. 44), Smithfield

When: Monday, June 28, 2021, 11:30 am

Brian Wilder’s account of his arrest in Minnesota and his call for action:

This is a fuller account, with photos, of last week’s Line 3 Pipeline protest that led to the arrest of several hundred activists—including me. There is nothing more important to me than this struggle. If you also oppose this climate-destroying oil pipeline, please join our next local protest against Chase and the other banks that fund it:1:111:30am on Monday, June 28 in Smithfield, Rhode Island. (No arrests expected!)

In late May, I learned that the Anishinaabe tribe in northern Minnesota had issued a public invitation for people to come to northern Minnesota for a Treaty Peoples Gathering from Sat. June 5-8 and join forces with them in nonviolent direct action against the construction of the Line 3 pipeline through their treaty lands.

Members of the tribe have been fighting for years to stop the expansion of the Line 3 pipeline being built right through the Lands, Waters and Air where the Anishinaabe live, hunt, and grow food, including their sacred wild rice which grows in the waters.

Line 3 is what Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company, calls a replacement, but that is a lie — it is a massive expansion that includes 337 miles of new, larger pipes, half in a new corridor. The expanded pipeline violates tribal treaties and, if completed, would deliver twice as much filthy tar sands oil as before. The pipeline would go underneath 22 rivers in Minnesota alone and cross over 200 bodies of water. The overall environmental impact would be the same as building 50 new coal-fired power plants.

To quote Winona LaDuke, the Native American co-founder of the environmental indigenous justice organization Honor the Earth: “Our ancestors made agreements to take care of this water and land forever together, and now is our time to do that.”

Winona LaDuke

Pipelines leak. Not if, but when, is the only question. Line 3 is to carry 900,000 barrels a day of toxic tar sands oil. It will endanger the headwaters of the entire Mississippi as well as the wild rice beds of the Anishinaabe, the basis of their food and culture. Treaties signed between our colonial ancestors and theirs, for which we are all responsible, guarantee their right to hunt, fish and gather. The construction of the pipeline violates those treaties.

I learned there was a van leaving from western Massachusetts to the Treaty Peoples Gathering. The trip included two nights of camping each way. I’m 71-years old and hadn’t camped in 25 years, but I was able to join the group and on Thursday June 3, eight of us from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island set out for the Gathering. My van mates included one woman who is 84 and another who is 80!

We, along with 2,000 others from around the country, arrived on Saturday morning at the Gathering camps, were welcomed, and provided food and orientation. We divided into groups for a weekend of training for the day of action on Monday.

The Anishinaabe tribe has been fighting Line 3 in court, but tribal members have also established camps in order to use nonviolent direct action to stop or delay construction at the pipeline sites. In the months prior to the Gathering, 250 people, mostly Anishinaabe tribal members, were arrested.

For legal/security reasons, I can’t go into much detail about the training or the specific actions we took on Monday. But I can confirm what’s been reported in the media.

Early Monday morning, 1,500 people gathered and rallied and protested at a large Enbridge construction site. After the recitation of sacred chants and prayers by some of the Native Elders, celebrity supporters — including 350.org founder and New Yorker columnist Bill McKibben, Jane Fonda, and Rosanna Arquette — made brief, moving statements.

The group then marched to an encampment blocking Enbridge from the Mississippi headwaters.

At the same time, 500 of us arrived and occupied the one-acre electrical pumping station which supplies power to all the pipeline construction sites. As soon as they saw us coming, the workers left their machinery, ran to their pick-up trucks, and left.

The entrances were barricaded, various people chained themselves to the heavy machinery— bulldozers, cranes, etc.—and a general occupation began.

By afternoon, the ongoing heat wave sent the temperature up to 96 degrees. At 2 pm, a border patrol helicopter swooped low several times kicking up huge clouds of dirt, small stones, and dust from the rocky, loose soil, sending us scrambling for something to protect our faces.

By 4 pm, we started to think about a possible second day of occupation, but soon over 100 law enforcement personnel arrived from a joint task force funded by Enbridge to deal specifically with pipeline protesters.

As they began to arrest people, protesters formed human blockade circles which greatly slowed them down. Police then began to clear the materials blocking the entrances and they worked their way through the worksite and arrested everyone still inside. While they let some people go without charges, over 200 people were arrested at the pumping station and some at the other sites.

Everyone arrested was charged with a gross misdemeanor which has a penalty of up to $3000 and/or a year in jail. This gross misdemeanor is known as the “Enbridge law“ because it was created as a stronger penalty specifically for pipeline arrests. Money talks in Minnesota. A companion charge of causing damage to Enbridge property was dropped when it couldn’t be supported with any evidence.

Some protesters were mistreated by law enforcement and were hospitalized, and everyone spent about two days in jail before being released on bail. The authorities have begun legal proceedings against the protesters and each of us will make personal decisions as to how to proceed. Most of us will be represented by pro bono or reduced cost legal support or by private representation.

When I left for Minnesota, I did not intend to get arrested. As the weekend progressed, however, I changed my mind.
Here are some of my thoughts:

  • There is nothing more important to me than fighting alongside Native Americans whose Lands, Waters, and treaties are being trampled by companies such as Enbridge and the banks that finance them: Chase Bank, Bank of America, TD Bank, etc.
  • There is nothing more important to me than fighting to stop the companies that keep exploring for, extracting, processing, and distributing the fossil fuels which are poisoning and overheating our entire planet and all living things, including everyone and everything I love.

Even though the global crisis seems far away and futuristic to many people, the climate catastrophe has clearly already begun. Please consider joining the fight in any way you can.


Brian Wilder 401-648-5479
Climate Action Rhode Island-350 (CARI)

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