- Views & Opinions
For the past six weeks, a global coalition has been pressuring banks providing project loans to the Dakota Access Pipeline to renegotiate or cancel their loans.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indigenous leaders in December requested the banks meet with tribal representatives to hear their concerns. The deadline for banks to respond to the meeting request was Jan. 10.
As of Jan. 16, four banks had declined, including. BayernLB, BNP Paribas, Mizuho Bank and Suntrust.
Six banks failed to respond, including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BBVA Compass, ICBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
However, seven banks met or agreed to meet with the tribe and its allies, including Citi, Crédit Agricole, DNB, ING, Société Générale, TD and Wells Fargo
Tribal leaders this week are stepping up their pressure on banks that refused to engage.
The Indigenous coalition at Standing Rock has a running billboard in Times Square asking millions of people to join the campaign to #DefundDAPL.
Organizers also continue to protest with bank occupations.
A news release from Standing Rock estimated the “brand-damaging campaigns … have already led to the closure of thousands of accounts worth a $46,314,727.18.”
To come is a “global week of action” to pressure the banks to discontinue loan disbursements to Energy Transfer Partners.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a press statement: “We are pleased that some of the banks behind DAPL are willing to engage Standing Rock Sioux leadership, but maintain that all 17 should not be helping a company who deliberately ignores our concerns. We call on the remaining banks to agree to a meeting with the Tribe. We know that they have heard Energy Transfer Partners’ side of the story, and they need to hear our perspective as well.”
Ladonna Bravebull Allard of Sacred Stone Camp added, “I want the banks to know that the power of their investment comes from the people, and the people are saying we have the right to water, and we will stand for the water. Stop investing in destruction of the earth.”
Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network said: “As a movement to stop this dirty Bakken oil pipeline, we are demonstrating the inherent power of organized communities and mobilized citizens. We are showing Big Oil and government leaders that we know the power of our capital, and as such we collectively choose to invest in life and water, not death and oil. As first peoples of the land and in defense of our Indigenous rights, we will continue to rise, resist, self-determine and divest until the Dakota Access pipeline is nothing but the defeated aspirations of a Energy Transfer Partners’ dream.”
Johan Frijns, Director of BankTrack said: “The Dakota Access Pipeline project is supposed to be in compliance with the Equator Principles, and therefore guarantee Indigenous peoples’ rights to be properly consulted. The refusal of leading EP banks to meet with the Sioux Tribe not only makes a complete mockery of that commitment, but also poses a severe risk to the very credibility of the Equator Principles.”