De Blasio Threatens Wells Fargo Over Dakota Access Pipeline

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened Wells Fargo bank for its investment in the North Dakota Access Pipeline.

In a February 17 letter to Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan, de Blasio said he wanted to “express my deep concern about your involvement, and the involvement of other banks, in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline,” noting his concern is partly based on being a Mayor of a “coastal city threatened by climate change.”

De Blasio claimed the pipeline would violate “human and tribal rights of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation” and would have “negative environmental consequences” to the land and water of the area.

“As someone with a leadership role in funds that are long-term investors in shares of your bank, I am profoundly troubled by the risks you are taking by involving your institution in this controversial project,” the liberal mayor of New York wrote. “Beyond the potential direct financial costs to the bank if Energy Transfer Partners is unable to repay the financing you have provided for the pipeline, I am apprehensive about the risks to your reputation.”

De Blasio stated three times int the letter that he is a person in charge of the funds of “long-term investors” with more than $165 billion in assets established to pay for the benefits of over 700,000 active and retired New York City workers.

De Blasio suggested Wells Fargo reconsider its investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline and seek out and “finance profitable clean energy projects” instead.

New York is not the first city to seemingly threaten a bank connected to the financing of the much-debated pipeline. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to cut banking ties with Wells Fargo, which would mean divesting $3 billion over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

President Donald Trump ordered the revival of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines in January when he first took office, a dramatic change in policy from his predecessor Barack Obama.

Following the Seattle vote, the Davis City Council in California dropped Wells Fargo as a means of protesting the pipeline. Other city governments that divested or are considering divesting from Wells Fargo over the pipeline include: Santa Monica, Calif., Iowa City, Iowa, Alameda, Calif., East Orange, N.J.

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