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Investors Urge DAPL Banks to Pull Out

Citing risks to reputation and capital, a group of 120 investors representing $653 billion in assets urge 17 banks to pull out of DAPL.
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Investors representing $653 billion in assets are urging banks invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to push for its rerouting away from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation or risk severing of ties.

In a statement addressed to 17 banks, a group including major pension funds such as California’s CalPERS noted the potential “long-term brand and reputational damage resulting from consumer boycotts and possible legal liability” engendered by the closure already of $53 million worth of bank accounts in objection to DAPL financing, as well as the $2.3 billion that could follow suit. Already, several entities have pulled funds from Wells Fargo, including the City of Seattle. Divestment is catching on elsewhere as banks financing DAPL are singled out.

“The undersigned investors, representing $653 billion in assets under management, encourage the banks listed above to address or support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for a reroute of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that avoids their treaty territory,” the group said in a statement on February 16. “We believe this is warranted to protect the banks’ reputation and consumer base and to avoid legal liabilities. As investors we are very concerned by the reputational and potential financial risks due to these banks being associated with DAPL.”

The statement was addressed to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Mitsubishi UFJ), BayernLB (Bayerische Landesbank), BBVA (BancoBilbao Vizcaya Argentaria), BNP Paribas, Citibank (Citigroup), Crédit Agricole, DNB, ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank (Mizuho Financial Group), Natixis, Société Générale, SMBC (Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group), SunTrust Bank, TD Securities (Toronto-Dominion Bank), Wells Fargo.

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Signatories include the Episcopal Church, various municipal and union retirement fund portfolios, environmental groups and others. They hail from both the U.S. and Canada.

“We are concerned that if DAPL’s projected route moves forward, the result will almost certainly be an escalation of conflict and unrest as well as possible contamination of the water supply,” the statement said. “North Dakota state and local governments have spent over $22 million on law enforcement costs since August 2016, and demonstrators have already been arrested and cleared from the area with considerable use of force.”