- Views & Opinions
As part of a global day of solidarity with Standing Rock water protectors, thousands of activists around the globe demanded that Citibank halt and rescind its loan disbursements for the Dakota Access pipeline.
Activists went to Citibank branches to close their accounts and ask that the bank honor its policies on Indigenous, human, and environmental rights.
Citibank holds the largest share in the Dakota Access pipeline and helped lay the groundwork for other financial institutions to join in financing the controversial project.
“Citibank claims that it cares about Indigenous rights, yet has led the way in financing this disastrous project on behalf of a fossil fuel company willing to destroy Standing Rock’s sacred land and water supply,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Mary Sweeters. “Not only has the bank laid the groundwork for the project to move forward, in doing so it has signed off on the human rights abuses we’ve seen from Energy Transfer Partners and its security team. It’s time for Citi to put its loan disbursements on hold and withdraw from the pipeline agreement if all outstanding issues are not resolved to the satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux.”
In addition to visiting local branches to close accounts and demand accountability from Citi, activists were taking to phones throughout the day to pressure the bank to halt and rescind its loan disbursements.
The actions are part of a larger global day of solidarity with Standing Rock through which individuals closed their bank accounts, shut down banks and demand the withdrawal of sheriff departments.
Greenpeace, which is involved in coordinating the actions, delivered a letter to Citibank reiterating the demands outlined in a coalition letter initiated by BankTrack and sent to all 17 financial institutions backing the project.
The demands include:
• All further loan disbursements to the project are immediately put on hold.
• Citi demands from the project sponsor that all construction of the pipeline and all associated structures is put on hold until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
• In case such a resolution of outstanding issues is not achieved with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Citi will fully withdraw from the loan agreement and any other credit facilities to the Energy Transfer Family of Partnerships.
• A public statement is made by Citi on how it will act on the issues identified above.
TD Bank, Bank of America, Suntrust and Goldman Sachs are among the other financial institutions backing the project and the subjects of ongoing protest.
DNB, the largest bank in Norway, recently decided to sell its assets invested in the companies behind the pipeline and is exploring the possibility of terminating its loans as well, which amount for 10 percent of the project.
ING also has expressed concerns about the project and its impacts to the Standing Rock Sioux.
“We are confident that people power can stop this ill-conceived pipeline,” said Sweeters. “Whether it be through the banks pulling their loans or the (Obama) administration pulling the permitting, it’s time to listen to Standing Rock and all the Indigenous communities demanding action.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has delayed a decision on an easement for the pipeline to allow for additional analysis and discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The original permitting for the pipeline was fast tracked without adequate tribal consultation and consent or environmental review.
With Donald Trump’s presidency on the horizon, calls have grown stronger for Barack Obama to designate a national monument to permanently protect Standing Rock.