Protesters target TD Bank branches
Say company is investing in pipeline project that’s environmentally harmful
GREENFIELD — A handful of locals took to the street corner Monday afternoon in protest of what they said is TD Bank’s investment in an environmentally harmful pipeline project.
Opponents say the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would damage the environments it passes through on the route from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Neb., and eventually to the Gulf Coast, and contribute disproportionately to climate change by promoting the mining, refinement and use of tar sands oil, as well as objecting to the route the pipeline would take.
The proposal requires a presidential permit, which environmentalists have repeatedly urged President Barack Obama to deny.
Monday, protesters stood in front of the TD Bank branch near the corner of Main and Federal streets from noon to 1 p.m. in protest of the bank’s investments in the project, a protest coordinated with others in Holyoke, Springfield, Northampton and Amherst.
Sandra Boston of Greenfield quoted climate scientist James Hansen as saying the burning of tar sands oil would be “game over” for the climate.
The United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper quoted Hansen as saying the exploitation of tar sands — more energy-intensive to extract than traditional sources — would be “game over” for the climate given that the other sources are sure to expire.
Boston said she delivered a letter signed by about a dozen protesters to the branch manager, asking her to communicate their concerns to the CEO.
Protesters were philosophical about whether the protest in Greenfield will have an impact on a decision to be made at the national level and an international pipeline project.
“This is an act of conscience; we don’t measure it by how much of an impact it might have,” Boston said.
Fellow protester Annie Hassett said change on a global level can be achieved through a ripple effect beginning with a few individuals. Hassett paraphrased singer Pete Seeger, who uses a large group filling a bucket with sand teaspoonfull by teaspoonfull as a metaphor for cooperative change.
Garrett Connelly, also of Greenfield, said he has seen reactions to climate protesters improve over the years.
“The reception we have is wonderful. I’m a sociologist and I’ve watched it for a couple of years now and it’s a big change,” Connelly said.
Comment could not be obtained from the bank branch.
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