I’ve been reflecting on the story of the money behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. More than 17 major national banks are funding construction and credit lines for the companies building it across the Dakotas and the Midwest:
- $2.5 billion to Sunoco Partners
- $3.75 billion to Energy Trading Partners
- $1.5 billion to Energy Trading Equity; and
- $2.5 billion to Dakota Access [Source: Food and Water Watch, September 6, 2016]
That’s an incredible amount of money: more than I can compute, and some of it, indirectly, comes from us.
For the last several months, ordinary people have been leveraging their much, much smaller assets to make a statement on this project.
Yes Magazine reported this week that fiscal organizing against the Dakota Access Pipeline is producing tangible results: people have already divested $28 million in private funds, withdrawing money from and closing checking, savings, and credit accounts with the banks named in Food and Water Watch’s article.
As people take responsibility for their personal accounts, banks and states are also taking responsibility for theirs: a Norwegian bank has already sold off its investments in the project—a transfer of responsibility—and California, Minneapolis, and Seattle are apparently considering divestment legislation as well.
All levels of engagement are necessary: every dollar is part of the story. And as much as some activists have invited sending money to the community at Standing Rock, perhaps we ought to also consider withdrawing money from the communities making Standing Rock more of a war zone than a sanctuary.