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Flash mob protests pipeline loans in Madison

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Climate activists staged a flash mob dance outside of a downtown bank as part of a protest meant to put pressure on Wall Street banks to end their loans for the 'Line 3 Replacement Project pipeline project.'

The 'Stop the Money Pipeline' coalition started the nationwide campaign '#DefundLine3' and the organization is calling to 'defund' the banks involved with the loans for the pipelines: Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada.

Organizers with the 350 Madison Climate Action Team, which put together Saturday's protest, said it was an opportunity to bring awareness and grab attention to their mission.

"The banks could could easily and legally end their funding relationship with Enbridge Corporation, the company behind line three," said organizer Dianne Brakarsh. "So that's why we're doing this now."

According to Enbridge Inc., a Canadian pipeline company that funds the project, 'Line 3 Replacement Project' goes through Alberta, Canada and into Superior, Wisconsin; the original pipeline was built in the 1960s.

In defending the pipeline, Enbridge's site states that there are petroleum products which "are an essential part of our everyday lives."

The pipeline's website states that under an assessment of the pipeline they "determined that a replacement of Line 3 was best to maintain system integrity while minimizing disruption to landowners and communities."

A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase said the bank accepts climate change as real and referred to what it calls a "Paris Agreement-aligned financing strategy."

"By aiming to finance and facilitate $1 trillion for green initiatives, such as renewable energy and clean technologies - part of a $2.5 trillion target to advance climate action and sustainable development," said JPMorgan Chase spokesperson.

Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes says people have the right to protest, but the project is nearly complete.

“Enbridge respects the rights of individuals to peacefully express their opinions about the energy we all depend on. The replacement of Line 3 has been completed in Canada North Dakota and Wisconsin," Barnes said in a statement to 27 News. "The replacement project is more than 70 percent complete in Minnesota, with the project being on track to be in service by Q4 of this year.”

Brakarsh said people signed post cards that will be sent to both the banks and President Biden to stop the funding of the pipeline.

"There are actually things happening right on the front line of the pipeline. So, I would just hope people educate themselves and get involved in whatever way they can," Brakarsh said.

This article has been updated to include a statement from Enbridge.

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