DAPL’s Financial Risks Raise Red Flags on Wall Street; Banks Behind DAPL Hire Independent Human Rights Expert

(Credit: Wikimedia)
(Credit: Wikimedia)

We wrote Thursday about how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is engaged in shareholder advocacy around the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The ELCA is one of several religious organizations raising moral questions of corporate social responsibility regarding DAPL.

In a new turn of events, Wall Street, too, is raising red flags about DAPL. Financial markets are simply looking at the bottom line, apparently becoming skittish of companies investing in the pipeline because of unidentified financial risks. They are asking tough questions, according to Bloomberg, a business news service.

The following is an excerpt from a Dec. 1 Bloomberg story headlined: Investors Take Stand on Dakota Access Pipeline:

Investors concerned about the Dakota Access Pipeline have started submitting shareholder proposals to the energy companies building the pipeline as well as to the lenders behind it, urging the companies to better disclose the risks to their business from the controversial investment.

The third largest U.S. pension plan, the $178.6 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, is one of the investors leading the charge.

Click on the link above for the full story. It’s hard to know how optimistic to be about these reports, but we’ll take the good news where we can get it.

Meanwhile, companies providing credit for the pipeline seem concerned about potential risks, too. For more positive news, keep reading. Continue reading

ELCA Brings Shareholder Resolution on DAPL to Enbridge, a Major Pipeline Investor

This is the first in a series of blogs exploring how religious communities who are Standing with Standing Rock are reviewing their investments for ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Will their investments change?

ELCAThe Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has taken a formal position supporting the Standing Rock Nation and its opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). It also is flexing its financial muscle, looking at how its investments are supporting DAPL and asking tough questions of Enbridge, a major DAPL investor.

There is a growing effort to get individuals and institutions to divest from companies tied to DAPL. Divesting is one option outside of the political arena where people can make a difference and vote their values with their money.

The ELCA is a large institutional investor, socking away money for retirement plans for its many employees. It’s the kind of big investor that can influence a corporation. As of the third quarter of 2016, the ELCA had $7.8 billion managed by Portico Benefit Services. (Of that, $6.4 billion was in retirement plans).

The ELCA’s  investments include Enbridge Inc. “whose U.S. vehicle, Enbridge Energy Partners, owns a 27.5% interest in the Dakota Access Pipeline project,” according to Rev. Jeff Thiemann, Portico’s President and CEO. According to a statement Rev. Thiemann made to Healing Minnesota Stories on Dec. 8:

Portico just this week, along with several other investors, submitted a shareholder resolution to Enbridge Inc. [regarding DAPL] … This resolution calls on Enbridge to prepare a report to shareholders detailing the due diligence process used by Enbridge, its affiliates, and subsidiaries to identify and address social and environmental risks, including Indigenous rights risks, when reviewing potential acquisitions.

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Local Sheriffs Deputies Pulled from ND; Amnesty, UN Observers at Pipeline Protest; Liability Questions Raised

sign-2Good News: Hennepin, Anoka, and Washington county sheriffs departments have pulled their deputies and equipment out of North Dakota, MPR reports. The deputies had participated in a heavily militarized response against those opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline

The counties had sent their deputies in response to request from the Morton County ND Sheriff’s Department, allowed as part of a mutual aid agreement. Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek’s decision to send deputies sparked local protests. Some state lawmakers spoke out against it, believing this was an inappropriate use of the mutual aid agreement. Some now say they will seek a change in the law next session. According to MPR:

A group of state legislators who met with Stanek say they think the emergency assistance protocols only apply to natural disasters or an attack on the scale of 9/11.

“We have an assignment that we’re going to go back and try and change a couple parts of the law that will make it clearer the distinction between different types of emergencies,” said Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, who met with Stanek, “so we don’t get ourselves in sort of a position again.”

U.N. Group, Amnesty International, Providing Outside Accountability for Law Enforcement Actions at DAPL Protests

More Good News: Outside observers are traveling to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota to monitor the situation and bring some accountability for the harsh military tactics used against the Water Protectors. Continue reading