Every day we find ourselves confronted with yet another kick in the teeth from a new administration that courts controversy like a nineteenth-century libertine. At this point, it’s become clear to pipeline protesters that President Donald Trump and his administration are engaged in a deliberate campaign to up-end anything educationally, politically, financially, socially, and environmentally beneficial to the American people.
Last week, Trump and company re-started the Keystone XL Pipeline while our attention was diverted to the American Health Care Act’s demise. A similar outrage we thought we’d put to rest under President Obama is the hugely controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. Despite last year’s outrage and injuries, the Trump administration is pressuring the US Army Corps of Engineers to ignore its own procedures and immediately issue the last permit to Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for the pipeline’s construction.
In response, over 700,000 bank customers with over $2.3 billion collectively in checking, mortgage, and credit card accounts have signed one of six petitions demanding banks that finance DAPL rescind their support. They are prepared to divest if the banks continue financing DAPL, as thousands have already, removing over $55 million.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, said:
“By attempting to fast track DAPL, President Trump has made it clear that his priorities lie with his wealthy contributors rather than the public interest. Banks now have an opportunity to take a stand against this reckless assault on our treaty rights and water, or be complicit and continue to lose millions.”
Last month, activists assembled at bank headquarters in New York, Montreal, Munich, Madrid, Amsterdam, San Francisco, and elsewhere, demanding the following seventeen banks involved in the construction loan to Energy Transfer Partners withdraw their support: Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, BayernLB, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, DNB ASA, ICBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, SMBC, Société Générale, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, TD Bank, Wells Fargo.
Since then, banks like ABN AMRO and ING have made public statements about reconsidering their relationships with Energy Transfer Equity (ETE). However, at the same time, campaigners noted some banks’ renewed involvement in a $2.2 billion refinancing loan to ETE led by Credit Suisse.
Johan Frijns, Director BankTrack, said:
“The Dakota Access Pipeline is becoming a litmus test for all banks involved on how they let environmental, social and human impacts weigh in when considering finance for a particular project. In this case, the ongoing violation of the rights of the Sioux Tribe leave them no other option but to withdraw from the project.”