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Canadian lender may stop financing pipelines

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World Pipelines,

Canadian lender Desjardins is considering no longer funding energy pipelines, a spokesman said on Saturday, citing concerns about the impact such projects may have on the environment.

Desjardins, the largest association of credit unions in North America, on Friday temporarily suspended lending for pipeline projects and may make the decision permanent, spokesman Jacques Bouchard told press.

The lender will make a final decision in September.

Dejardins, a backer of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd's high-profile expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline, has been evaluating its policy for such lending for months, Bouchard said.

If it makes the decision permanent, that would likely mean Desjardins would not help finance other major Canadian pipelines projects, including TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL and Energy East and Enbridge Inc.'s Line 3.

Such a move would follow that of Dutch lender ING Groep NV, which has a long-standing policy of not funding projects directly related to oilsands, and is the latest sign that pipelines could have a harder time getting funding as banks face increasing pressure to back away.

Desjardins is among 24 financial institutions that agreed to lend money to a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, majority owned by Kinder Morgan Inc. of Houston, according to regulatory filings.

A coalition of more than 20 Indigenous and environmental groups, including Greenpeace, in June called on 28 major banks to pull funding for Trans Mountain, citing the risk of pipeline spills and their potential contribution to climate change.

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