Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association demands meeting with Liberty Mutual executives

This press release originally appeared on the website of The Indigenous Environmental Network.

Rapid City (September 15, 2020) – Today, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) sent a letter to Liberty Mutual Insurance urging the company to end its relationship with the Keystone XL pipeline and to meet with tribal leaders about the company’s tar sands sector relationships. The application for the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) certification to the state of South Dakota confirms that Liberty Mutual Insurance has issued a surety bond for the tar sands pipeline project.

The KXL pipeline, owned by the TC Energy corporation, is planned to pass through the member territories of the GPTCA, an association representing the leaders of 16 sovereign Tribal Nations in the upper midwest. These sovereign nations possess substantial treaty obligations, water rights, cultural and natural resources that will be affected by the pipeline project. Since the very beginning of the KXL permitting process, these tribal nations have rejected the approval of the pipeline to cross their lands.

 GPTCA Chairman Harold Frazier states, “This tar sands pipeline is a violation of our treaty rights and it is a threat to our land, our water, and our people. We strongly urge Liberty Mutual Insurance to immediately end its relationship with the KXL pipeline project.”

Along with ending its relationship with TC Energy, the GPTCA requested a meeting with Indigenous leaders to discuss Liberty Mutual’s relationship with the tar sands sector overall.

The letter comes on the heels of insurance giant Zurich announcing it will no longer provide coverage to the Trans Mountain pipeline, another tar sands project that is being contested by Canadian First Nations in British Columbia. Liberty Mutual remains a primary insurance provider for Trans Mountain with a coverage amount of $250 million.

Dallas Goldtooth, National Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network states, “For the benefit of all citizens and land we are demanding the insurance sector to be accountable for supporting the destruction of mother earth via fossil fuel projects. Liberty Mutual must decide if it truly wants to be the champion of oil and gas. That decision is far past due.”

***

Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. IEN’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.