Over 60 organizations send letter to Liberty Mutual demanding the company end its involvement in Indigenous rights violations
Bemidji, MN (October 27, 2020) – Today, a letter signed by 60 organizations addressed to David Long, the CEO of Liberty Mutual Insurance has called on the company to immediately stop insuring the Keystone XL pipeline and to meet with Indigenous leaders to hear their concerns about their involvement in its financing. This letter was sent in solidarity of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA) who has been demanding action from Liberty Mutual regarding the tar sands project. Liberty Mutual Insurance is currently providing a surety bond for the pre-construction of TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline project in the state of South Dakota and has yet to provide an additional surety bond for primary construction.
The broad coalition of Indigenous leadership, climate justice organizations, and civil society is calling on insurers to immediately halt investing in and underwriting the pipeline which violates Indigenous treaty rights, is increasing violence towards Indigenous Women, and furthering the climate crisis.
“While tar sands companies like TC Energy and Enbridge definitely need to be held accountable for the devastation they cause, we must look to those supporting companies that complete the cycle of economic terrorism upon our Sacred Mother Earth. That includes insurance companies like Liberty Mutual,” said Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Sioux tribal citizen and Indigenous Environmental Network frontline organizer. “Liberty Mutual can no longer keep its head in the sand while it supports attacks upon Indigenous peoples, the potential spread of COVID-19 and the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We will hold all industries who threaten our lives, land and water accountable.”
Last week a federal judge denied an injunction request by Indigenous tribes to halt pipeline construction despite treaty rights violations, oil spill threats, the risk of Covid-19 infections and violence from pipeline workers associated with the project. The failure to grant the injunction now escalates the campaign to get insurers of the project to meet with tribal leadership and understand the real risks to Indigenous communities associated with the pipeline.
“Liberty Mutual has a choice here: side with tribal nations and communities who want a healthy future, or side with Oil and Gas,” said Dallas Goldtooth, Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. “We are not giving up until they make the right decision, drop TC Energy as a client and end its relationship with tar sands oil!”
Earlier this month, many of the signatories of the letter also were involved in delivering a petition to Liberty mutual and built a mock pipeline outside the insurer’s headquarters. The mock pipeline was covered in red handprints to represent the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women who are most at risk from the ongoing plans to move ahead with the construction.
“This tar sands pipeline is a violation of our treaty rights and it is a threat to our land, our water, and our people,” said GPTCA Chairman Harold Frazier. “We strongly urge Liberty Mutual Insurance to immediately end its relationship with the KXL pipeline project.”
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.