250,000+ people demand Liberty Mutual stop insuring Trans Mountain pipeline

Monday August 22, 2022

Petition calls on insurer to cut ties with the tar sands project ahead of upcoming policy deadline on August 31

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Just days ahead of the annual deadline for Trans Mountain to line up more than USD$500 million in insurance policies, environmental advocates delivered a petition today to Liberty Mutual office in Vancouver calling on the insurer to cut ties with the pipeline expansion project. 

Images from petition delivery will be uploaded here throughout the day and available for media use.

Groups delivering the petition include Stand.earth, SumOfUs, Public Citizen and LeadNow. The petition contains signatures from over 250,000 people who are urging Liberty Mutual to follow the lead of a growing trend in the insurance industry to reduce underwriting for projects and industries that carry significant environmental and financial risk. Kicking off a week of actions targeting Trans Mountain’s remaining insurers across North America, this petition underscores overwhelming support for putting an end to this project once and for all.

“We are here today to add our voices to the over a quarter of a million people who are calling on Liberty Mutual to stop doing business with the Trans Mountain pipeline,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director with Stand.earth. “Once again this summer, we have seen record breaking temperatures, raging wildfires, droughts, and multiple “once in a century” floods. The executives at Liberty Mutual know that building new oil infrastructure will only make this crisis worse, but they are choosing their short term profit over the safety of our communities.” 

The annual deadline for Trans Mountain to line up more than USD$500 million in insurance policies by August 31 is rapidly approaching. So far, 18 insurers have ruled out doing business with the controversial project, which according to fillings made with Canadian Energy Regulator, is driving up insurance costs for the project and making it increasingly difficult for them to find coverage.

“Insurers are already facing billions of dollars in claims for wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events connected to climate change,” said Biggs. “That is why eighteen insurers have already ruled out doing business with the Trans Mountain pipeline. They know that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we need to stop expanding the dirtiest forms of fossil fuels – like coal and tar sands – now.” 

The $21.4 billion pipeline project was purchased by the federal government in 2018, despite the lack of Indigenous consent for the project and despite it being in direct conflict with Canada's commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global temperatures from rising above the 1.5 deg Celsius threshold. 

The pipeline project is currently less than halfway built, years behind schedule, and needed a $10 billion loan guarantee from the Federal Government to cover growing construction costs that now top $21 billion. Analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office and Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) have previously called into question whether the pipeline is viable at this construction price, and predicted that taxpayers will have to continue to pour money into the project if it is to be completed. In addition to the ballooning costs of this pipeline project, the UN Secretary General recently referred to any investment in new fossil fuels infrastructure as “moral and economic madness.”

The existing Trans Mountain pipeline is already a major environmental and public health hazard with a long history of disastrous spills. In June 2020, 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a pump station located above an aquifer that supplies the Sumas First Nation with drinking water. The Trans Mountain Expansion Project would multiply these risks tremendously. If Canada moves forward with projects like Trans Mountain, the country is well on a path of further entrenching its dependence on fossil fuels while accelerating the climate crisis.

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Media contact: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)