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Canada’s Desjardins mulls scratching pipeline loans on environmental concerns

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion work. (Image: Trans Mountain.)

Canada’s Desjardins, the largest association of credit unions in North America, may no longer fund energy pipelines due to their potential impact on the environment, and has decided to suspend lending for such projects until September.

The Quebec-based financial institution, a backer of Kinder Morgan’s expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline, has been evaluating its pipeline-related policy for months and said it may make the decision of not financing those kinds of projects permanent before year-end, Le Devoir reported (in French).

Such a move would mean that other high-profiles projects, including TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL and Energy East and Enbridge’s Line 3, would have to look elsewhere for funds.

Currently, the Canadian lender is one of 24 financial institutions that agreed to back a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada (TSX:KML) , majority owned by US-based Kinder Morgan.

The announcement from Desjardins comes shortly after the ING Group clarified that it would not directly finance any of the four proposed oil sands sands pipelines (Trans Mountain expansion, Keystone XL, Line 3 and Energy East). It also follows Sweden’s largest pension fund —AP7  —decision to divest from TransCanada, as it considers building new pipelines incompatible with the Paris climate agreement.