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Bank Funding Pipeline Will Look Into Violations of Standing Rock Sioux's
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 00:00
By Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn, YES! Magazine | Report
One of the major banks funding the Dakota Access and Bakken pipeline
announced it may withhold its support over concerns for the treatment of
the Standing Rock Sioux.
The bank, DNB, is Norway's largest bank. It announced that it is now
conducting its own "objective and fact-based" evaluation of how the
Standing Rock Sioux's rights are being treated. "If our initiative does
not provide us with the necessary comfort," announced Harald
Serck-Hanssen, group executive vice president and head of Large
Corporates and International in DNB, "DNB will evaluate its further
participation in the financing of the project."
DNB is one of a handful of banks out of a total 38 that has offered
funding to all Energy Transfer entities, including direct loans to
Dakota Access. Research shows that DNB bank loaned $120 million to the
Bakken pipeline project and extended $460 million in credit lines to a
handful of companies with ownership stakes, specifically Energy Transfer
Partners, Sunoco Logistics, Phillips 66, and Marathon.
"It's a testament to public pressure, and the strength of the native
narrative, that the Norwegian bank is admitting to questioning its own
involvement," said Hugh MacMillan, the Food & Water Watch researcher who
investigated and made public the names of the 38 banks funding the
"We expect that Citigroup, Wells Fargo, TD Bank, Credit Suisse, and
others are also uneasy. It's important to know that Dakota Access is
just the tip of the iceberg for many of these banks, when it comes to
sinking billions on maximizing US production of oil and gas, in spite of
climate science," MacMillan said.
The statement from DNB, released Nov. 6, said: "DNB is concerned about
how the situation surrounding the oil pipeline in North Dakota has
developed. The bank will therefore use its position as lender to the
project to encourage a more constructive process to find solutions."
"We expect the companies and the responsible authorities to take a
serious view of the situation," it said.
The bank's announcement comes nearly two months after an investigation
by Food & Water Watch made public the 38 banks backing the controversial
Dakota Access/Bakken pipeline. In the weeks following, YES! Magazine
published the names and contact information of each bank's CEO.
Hundreds of thousands of people shared the article on Facebook, and it
was reprinted widely in other media outlets, creating an organized phone
and email campaign to protest the banks' involvement. Around the nation,
direct action campaigns at bank branches and headquarters have ranged
from picketing to civil disobedience ending with arrests.
Banks reported being inundated with phone calls. Several CEO email
addresses have been changed.
The Standing Rock controversy recently intensified as nearly 4,000
people have gathered in North Dakota to help the Standing Rock Sioux
protect the area from pipeline construction. The pipeline is nearing the
stage at which it would pass under the Missouri River, a drinking water
supply for 18 million people.
Two weeks ago, as pipeline construction deadlines neared, the county
sheriff organized militarized police from seven different states to
confront the people there. The violence against unarmed protesters and
the destruction of the camp on Oct. 27 has been replayed on Facebook
feeds and network news ever since, intensifying public opposition.
The Bakken pipeline includes the 1,170-mile Dakota Access pipeline plus
a 700-mile pipeline from the end of the Dakota Access, in Illinois, to
refineries and export facilities in Texas.
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