No regrets to chaining themselves to Portland TD Bank
PORTLAND (WGME) -- They chained themselves to a downtown Portland bank and admit to being responsible for damage to a bank door handle. But two protesters tell us it's absurd to pay TD Bank restitution while the bank profits from tar sands oil.
Outside the Cumberland County Courthouse Tuesday, protesters accused TD Bank of profiting on tar sands oil. Protester Sylvia Stormwalker says "They're one of the largest investors in the tar sands industry. They own about 37 1/2 million shares, which is worth about $750 million dollars."
Protesters also gathered in support of Stormwalker and Betsy Catlin, who took a stand against TD Bank. On January 22, 2014, the two chained themselves to the front door of the TD Bank on Congress Street. Portland Police later cut the bank's door handle and arrested the two protesters.
On Tuesday, Stormwalker and Catlin argued before a judge why they should not have to pay $2,000 in restitution to TD Bank. The judge plans to issue a written ruling. Protester Betsy Catlin says "Our intentions were not to harm bank door handles." Both say they have no regrets about what they did.
Stormwalker says "The real damage that's being done is that people's lives are literally being lost." Hilary Clark recently went to Alberta, Canada, where she says once clean lakes now smell and taste like petroleum and cannons go off every minute to keep birds out of toxic pits.
Clark says "They are dangers created from the tar sands oil extraction. These are poisoned fish and game that shouldn't be eaten. Poisoned water that shouldn't be drunk. And poisoned air that shouldn't be breathed." Stormwalker and Catlin think it's absurd to have to pay TD Bank for the door handles.
Catlin says "When you look at how much money TD Bank has, I don't think taking the space to make a statement against them demands that we should pay TD Bank money. They're billionaires."
TD Bank had no comment about this case, but did issue a statement to CBS 13 News. The statement says, in part, "We employ rigorous due diligence in our financing and investing activities relating to energy production."