Divestment Campaign Is Having Little Effect On Dakota And Keystone Pipeline Funding

REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Developers behind the Dakota Access (DAPL) and Keystone XL pipelines appear unfazed by an activist-led campaign pressuring banks and other institutions to divest from the two contentious oil projects.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind DAPL, maintains that the crusade has not prevented them from finding institutions willing to invest in the project. ETP is preparing to place several other pipeline projects online over the next year.

“We do not have a concern about our current or future financing options,” ETP spokeswoman Vicki Granado told reporters earlier this month. She was referring to a nearly year-long environmentalist-led effort to pressure investment firms to nix their investments in the pipeline.

Environmentalists and American Indian tribes believe the $3.8 billion oil line, which is slated to move Bakken oil from the Dakotas to Illinois, will trample tribal land and poison Standing Rock’s water supply.

TransCanada, the Canada-based energy company behind Keystone XL pipeline, also appears to be well on its way toward bringing the multi-state long oil project online over activist’s opposition.

The company has not indicated whether it has secured the necessary financing, though the company’s 2017 financial report shows finding funds hasn’t been a problem: The company raised $2.6 billion toward a $23 billion capital program.

Pipeline opponents are nonetheless claiming a moral victory. They claim the divestment campaign has made financial institutions more aware of American Indian rights.

“We aren’t ignoring the fact we couldn’t stop that pipeline,” Vanessa Green, a campaign director with the DivestInvest initiative, told reporters. “There’s a battle, and then there’s a war.”

Green and her fellow activists claim divestments from the project total more than $80 million from individuals and $4.3 billion from cities.

Netherlands-based ING and Norway-based DNB sold off their shares of a Dakota Access loan are among a handful of funds that have sold off shares.

Pipeline opponents also targeted cities with some success, including in Seattle, where activists managed to convince Wells Fargo to remove its DAPL investments.

The council removed $3 billion in city funds from the banking giant. Council members want to turn the bidding process into a race to see which banking institution is committed to “social responsibility.”

Anti-fracking activists and American Indian tribes have also pressured Citi Group, TD Bank of Canada, among others, to halt any and all monetary backing of the company responsible for constructing the DAPL.

Opposition to DAPL ratcheted up recently after President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders in January approving the construction of the DAPL and Keystone XL. His order essentially wiped away the Obama administration’s decision last December to reject the oil line.

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