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Take action: Tell Wells Fargo divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline

NoDAPL rally outside the White House

Wells Fargo, the second biggest bank in America, is providing $120 million in direct project-level financing for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). DAPL tramples on the rights of Native Americans by eschewing their clearly stated concerns and putting corporate polluter’s interests above Tribal treaty rights and access to clean water. The pipeline was originally proposed to cross the Missouri River just above Bismarck, ND, but after concerns from that community, it was rerouted to cross the river along sacred Tribal grounds, less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where a spill would pose a serious threat to the Tribe’s sole source of drinking water. The people of Bismarck were right to call for the pipeline to move, and so are the Standing Rock Sioux. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline also serves as yet another example of our nation’s long history of violence against Native Americans. In response to peaceful protest and prayer, hundreds of Water Protectors at Standing Rock were injured when police fired rubber bullets, stinger grenades, sonic weapons, and water cannons in below freezing temperatures. The injuries to peaceful protesters were downright inhumane: Numerous people were knocked unconscious, a member of the International Indigenous Youth Council suffered a seizure because of a flash grenade, a young man had internal bleeding, a young woman nearly lost her arm, and countless people had to be treated for hypothermia, tear gas exposure, and blunt trauma. In fact, the injury count was so high, the local community of Cannonball turned their school gymnasium into an emergency response center.

It should be easy for Wells Fargo do the right thing, but a spokesperson for Wells Fargo recently said “our businesses will continue to support our customers on both sides of the issue — in this particular case, the pipeline owners and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”

It’s time Wells Fargo stood on the right side of history. Urge Wells Fargo to divest from the Dakota Access pipeline. 
 
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I'm writing to express grave concern about your role in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and to urge you to divest. You claim you worked to ensure DAPL addressed the cultural and environmental impacts, but it’s clear that the true impacts of this dangerous pipeline have hardly been considered. DAPL was approved under Nationwide Permit 12, which fast tracks pipelines without any environmental review. In December 2016, the Army Corps ordered an environmental review of the pipeline and began accepting public comments in January. They failed to complete this review, missing another key opportunity to study the environmental impacts and ignoring the concerns raised by more than 400,000 people who had already submitted public comments. You have also claimed that you value human rights but your support for DAPL is out of line with this commitment. The Dakota Access Pipeline tramples on the rights of Native Americans by putting corporate interests above Tribal treaty rights and clean water. The pipeline was originally proposed to cross the Missouri River just above Bismarck, ND, but after complaints, it was rerouted to cross the river along sacred Tribal grounds, less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. In response to peaceful protest and prayer, hundreds of Water Protectors were injured at Standing Rock when police fired rubber bullets, stinger grenades, sonic weapons, and water cannons in below freezing temperatures. The injuries to peaceful protesters were downright inhumane: Numerous people were knocked unconscious, a member of the International Indigenous Youth Council suffered a seizure because of a flash grenade, a young man had internal bleeding, a young woman nearly lost her arm, and countless people had to be treated for hypothermia, tear gas exposure, and blunt trauma. In 2015, you joined five other major financial institutions to issue a joint statement asking for climate commitments from world leaders negotiating what would become the Paris Climate Agreement. I applaud your efforts, but it’s clear your own business practices do not align with what you’ve asked of world leaders. The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry 450,000 barrels of fracked oil every day with the goal of sending it to the gulf coast where it can be refined -- harming the health of local communities -- and shipped overseas. The world is watching to see whether Wells Fargo will choose to finance the continued violation of the rights of Indigenous people and exacerbation of climate change or whether they will choose to lead by supporting clean energy and human rights. I urge you to divest from DAPL.
Photo (c) Jay Mallin