Those opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline are opening a new front in efforts to stop the project: They are following the money.
Pipeline opponents are putting the public spotlight on the many financial institutions funding the pipeline. A recent article in Yes! Magazine headlined: “A Strategy to Stop the Funding Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline” suggests nonviolent civil disobedience to highlight the disconnect between banks public stance on green energy and their financial backing of the pipeline.
An analysis by Food & Water Watch shows a combined 38 financial institutions have provided a $10-billion-plus credit line to companies working on the Dakota Access Pipeline, the article says. The financial institutions include Wells Fargo, US Bank, Citibank, Bank of America, UBS, and Morgan Stanley. According to the article:
Many of these banks may be vulnerable to pressure. For one thing, they’re eager to appear green: Bank of America, for instance, recently announced plans to make all its bank branches “carbon-neutral” by 2020. Which is nice — solar panels on the roof of the drive-thru tellers are better than no solar panels. But as [Rainforest Action Network’s Amanda] Starbuck said, it’s basically meaningless stacked up against Bank of America’s lending portfolio, chock full of loans to develop “extreme fossil fuels, which are simply incompatible with a climate-stable world.”
One major loan for the Dakota Access Pipeline hinges on the project getting key government permits, a point of vulnerability given the federal government’s recent action which increased environmental reviews.
Yes! Magazine provided contact names for leaders of 17 of the banks so people can write letters. Also, protests at banks have sprung up across the country from Long Beach to the Bronx, the article says.
For more pipeline updates and a summary of the Treaty of Old Crossings, signed on this day in 1863, read on.
Pipeline Backers Buying Key Stretches of Land
The companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline — Energy Transfer Partners and Enbridge — are buying land near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation as the next part of their strategy to make it more difficult for the land and water protectors to physically stop the project.
According to an op/ed piece in Truthout by civil rights attorney Jeff Haas, the pipeline project “paid $18 million to purchase the land and the site of many of the confrontations, bolstering their ability to have protesters arrested for criminal trespass.”
Haas has volunteered as a member of the Red Owl Collective, the legal team at the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, or Seven Council Fires Community Camp. The Red Owl Collective monitors any confrontations and helps those who are arrested get out on bond using donated funds.
For those interested in a longer explanation of why Native peoples have risked arrest and are protecting their lands and water, here is s 25-minute video with many different voices, from the Laura Flanders Show.
This Day in History: The Treaty of Old Crossings
This country has a long history of forcing decisions on Native American communities that are not in their best interests. Today it is the Dakota Access Pipeline, but it is just the latest in a long list.
For instance, today is the anniversary of the Treaty of Old Crossings, Oct. 2, 1863, a treaty between the federal government and the Ojibwe people of northern Minnesota. To give you an idea of how the negotiations went, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Arriving at the treaty site on September 21, 1863, with a cavalcade of “290 army men, 340 mules, 180 horses, 55 big oxen and 90 vehicles and wagons”, ex-Governor Ramsey set up his tent while the soldiers set up a Gatling gun trained on the assembled Red Lake band of Ojibwe on the opposite side of the river.
(This was just one year after the Dakota-U.S. War. As governor, Ramsey had led efforts to exile all Dakota people from the state and put bounties on their heads.)
According to Wikepedia:
The United States treaty negotiators had overtly misrepresented the purpose and effect of the proposed treaty as merely conveying a “right of passage” over the Ojibwe lands to the United States. The United States intention to bring in settlers as well as the railroad had been an established policy for years, as was plainly stated in newspapers and governmental reports of the time. Governor Ramsey’s journal of the treaty negotiations contained his speech to the assembled Ojibwe in which he, as a trained lawyer and experienced politician and Indian negotiator, directly misrepresented the purpose and intent of the treaty…
For more details on this depressing story, read the full Wikipedia account.