Environmental groups demanded Monday that financial institutions backing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) discontinue all support for the nearly $4 billion project.
Citi Group, Wells Fargo, and TD Bank of Canada, among others, are being pressured by anti-fracking activists and members of the Standing Rock Sioux to halt any and all monetary backing of the company responsible for constructing the DAPL.
“Citi can demonstrate its leadership by responding to the demands made by the Standing Rock Sioux to end support for the Dakota Access pipeline,” Lindsey Allen, the executive director of The Rainforest Action Network, said in a statement Monday.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe argue the pipeline’s construction would trample on their tribal lands and destroy artifacts. They also believe it could potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
Demonstrators are refusing to budge from various sites around the pipeline, with some telling reporters that they will only leave once the “big black snake” is finally defeated. The protests have grown increasingly violent since they first began in August.
President Barack Obama told reporters earlier in November the Army Corps of Engineers is determining whether there are any conceivable ways to reroute the Dakota oil pipeline.
The government is going to let the entire process play out for several more weeks, Obama said, to allow “first Americans” the opportunity to have their concerns met.
“Banks have a choice to either finance the transition to renewable energy, or to finance the pipeline and power plants that will lock us into fossil fuels for the next 40 years,” Johan Frijns the director of BankTrack, a Netherlands-based group spearheading the campaign, told the New York Times.
A letter from BankTrack signed by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace, was sent to the banks to browbeat them into stopping the money pipeline to Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the multi-state project.
The letter was sent to the Equators Principles Association, a collective of banks committed to environmental issues. The banks backing the project are members of the association.
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