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DAPL Fallout Continues: Defund Movement Passes $5 Billion

The movement to defund the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is rapidly gathering momentum, as individuals, cities and tribes have taken out more than $5 billion

The movement to defund the Dakota Access Pipeline is rapidly gathering momentum, as individuals, cities and tribes have taken more than $5 billion from banks that have financed DAPL.

According to the website, which is maintained by several groups involved in the water protector movement that protested DAPL near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota for many months, individuals have taken away $76 million in deposits from DAPL banks while institutions have defunded those banks of more than $5.3 billion.

The city of Seattle remains the biggest de-funder to date, having voted to remove more than $3 billion in deposits from Wells Fargo Bank. But there has been a steady drumbeat of disinvestment in the weeks since Seattle acted early in February, according to ICMN and media reports. That includes two of the original bank funders of the pipeline.


DNB, Norway’s largest bank and one of the original funders of the pipeline, has sold its DAPL loans and ended its involvement in the pipeline. DNB Capital, a unit of DNB Bank, had made a financing commitment of $175 million for DAPL, and was one of 26 DAPL funders. That amount was equal to 4.7 percent of the total financing.

Dutch financial giant ING recently sold a $120 million stake in the pipeline, according to news reports. ING Capital LLC was an original $75 million funder of the pipeline.

Tribes have also taken funds away from the banks funding the $3.75 billion project, including the Muckleshoot Tribe in Washington state, the Mille Lacs Tribe in Minnesota and the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho.

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San Francisco is another big city distancing itself from the pipeline, and New York City mayor Bill De Blasio has put DAPL banks, which include Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Bank of Scotland and many others, on notice that the Big Apple may do the same.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in mid-March recommended that the city not consider DAPL banks as it decides where to bank its money. Some $1.2 billion is now in DAPL banks, according to the board, and its resolution was a first step toward defunding the DAPL banks.

Two Los Angeles city councilmen introduced a resolution on March 28 to remove $40 million in city funds from Wells Fargo to protest its involvement in DAPL, which is a project of Energy Transfer Partners.

In Albuquerque, the New Mexico state Democratic Party voted on March 1 to withdraw its funds from Wells Fargo. Reportedly the amount was $70,000.

Perhaps the most potent threat to DAPL comes from New York City’s pension funds, which control $165 billion in retirement money. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio on February 17 wrote to Wells and 16 other DAPL funders urging them to rethink their investments in the pipeline, implying New York City might rethink its pension fund allocations if they don’t.

“I am writing to express my deep concern about your involvement, and the involvement of other banks, in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the mayor wrote in a letter to Wells Fargo chief executive Timothy J. Sloan. “This project could have negative consequences for the people of Standing Rock, for the well-being of your bank and for the health of this planet. Therefore, I urge you to withdraw your financing, or failing that, to use your position as a lender to press your client to negotiate a reasonable resolution that removes the threat to the tribe’s concerns.”

Other news reports say the cities of Davis and Santa Monica, California have also moved to disinvest from DAPL banks. According to, the Santa Monica amount is $1 billion. Davis appears to have disinvested $124 million. Alameda, California is also said to have divested $36 million.