USA: Environmental NGOs criticise banks' funding of Dakota Access Pipeline, concerned about pollution, indigenous rights

Through the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline, NGOs have questioned the role of banks in financing the pipeline's construction and the companies developing it.  In February 2016, after the US Government issued final permits for the pipeline's construction, Rainforest Action Network said, "Disbursement of this project loan is a key test of the seriousness of these banks’ commitments to human and Indigenous rights."

We invited the banks named by Rainforest Action Network to respond. The responses received from banks are below.

For further details regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline; concerns over environmental impacts, indigenous peoples' rights, and rights of protesters; and the perspectives of companies and other stakeholders, see our In-depth area on human rights concerns regarding the pipeline.

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Company response
19 May 2017

Wells Fargo's response re: Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: Wells Fargo Bank

... As a result of issues that have arisen in the DAPL case, we have enhanced our due diligence in sectors subject to our Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) policy to include more focused research into whether or not indigenous communities are impacted and if they have been properly consulted. We also seek to understand our customers’ approaches to engagement with Native American communities and other indigenous peoples. In addition to the ESRM policy enhancements, we recently published an Indigenous Peoples Statement to help communicate our approach to responsible finance where our financing of a company or a project may potentially impact indigenous communities. The statement was developed in consultation with a number of indigenous stakeholders and their representatives, and is aligned with International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous Peoples. ...

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Company non-response
12 May 2017

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ did not respond re: Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

Company response
12 May 2017

Mizuho response re: Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: Mizuho Americas

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre was referred to the statement by Mizuho Americas, updated on 2 Feburary 2017:]

Following President Trump's executive memorandum and the directive from the Secretary of the Army, Mizuho Americas continues to review the situation closely as events unfold. We remain deeply committed to upholding our social responsibilities and continue to encourage all parties to work in a collaborative, safe and respectful dialogue. ...

 

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Company non-response
12 May 2017

SMBC Nikko Securities did not respond re: Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: SMBC Nikko Securities

Company response
12 May 2017

Toronto Dominion Bank responded re: Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: Toronto-Dominion Bank

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre was referred to the following statement, issued on 9 May:]

... TD commissioned Foley Hoag to better understand the complex issues involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline. ... The summary of the recommendations are publicly available, and we believe they provide valuable guidance to the industry, especially around engagement with indigenous peoples and bridging the gap between current US law and international industry best practices. ... TD is reviewing its due dilligence policies and making improvements, where appropriate. ...

 

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Item
+ 日本語 - Hide

Author: レインフォレスト・アクション・ネットワーク

米国で論議を呼んでいるダコタ・アクセス・パイプライン(DAPL) について、トランプ政権はゴーサインを出した。この融資には日本の3つの金融機関、三菱東京UFJ銀行 、みずほ銀行 、SMBC日興証券が参加している。銀行がプロジェクトへの融資に最終的にサインすることは、深刻な人権侵害に手を貸すことであり、プロジェクトによる壊滅的な影響に直接な責任を有することであるといえる。

 

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Company response
9 May 2017

Citi Response re: Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: Citigroup

We have engaged for the last seven months with Rainforest Action Network and a number of other stakeholders, as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, regarding the project. In response to these concerns, we periodically posted public comments on the developments related to the project on our Citi blog, beginning on November 6, 2016. This was followed with further communications to various stakeholders that we also publicly posted (see here for links to these previous statements [including Citi’s Letter to Investors Regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline, 7 Mar 2017]). We included a case study on the project in our 2016 Corporate Citizenship report (p. 45) published on April 24, 2017.

Today, we issued a further public statement discussing ongoing enhancements to our policies regarding engagement of Indigenous Peoples in developed countries (see here). We would also like to share with you the public summary of a report authored by the law firm Foley Hoag, who we retained jointly with TD Bank on behalf of the banks that financed DAPL, on the gaps between U.S. law and international industry good practice on engagement of Indigenous Peoples around pipeline developments (see here).

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Article
27 April 2017

USA: Citi CEO says bank approved Dakota Access Pipeline loan without sufficient regard for indigenous peoples' concerns

Author: David Henry, Reuters (UK)

Citi meeting protest prompts apology on pipeline finance steps, 25 April 2017

A...protest...at Citigroup's annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday evolved into an orderly exchange between an older tribal woman and the bank's two top executives, who conceded it had approved investments in a North Dakota pipeline too quickly. "We wish we could have a do-over on this," Chairman Mike O'Neill said after hearing from Casey Camp-Horinek, a council woman for the Ponca Nation... [The] protesters who were concerned about environmental damage from the pipeline and shale oil. 

Citigroup is one of four lead banks in a group of 17 which have provided project financing for the Dakota Access Pipeline [developed by Energy Transfer Partners]. The pipeline crosses land of the Standing Rock Sioux whose members are concerned about possible ground water contamination if the pipeline breaks. In January, U.S. President Donald Trump signed orders smoothing the path for the pipeline... 

Chief Executive Mike Corbat said Citigroup had not given enough early consideration to the concerns of the indigenous people. But now, he said, Citigroup could do more to protect the environment by keeping its investments. "We made the decision that we are a better force for good at the table than away from the table," Corbat said. "We don't think it is the right thing to simply sell these and walk away."...

Wells Fargo & Co's shareholder meeting, which was held at the same time in Florida, resulted in repeated interruptions.

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Article
10 February 2017

RAN Statement on Final Loan Disbursements for Dakota Access Pipeline

Author: Rainforest Action Network (USA)

With the issuance of the final easement required for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)...the Trump Administration has given the 17 banks financing the Pipeline a green light to disburse the remaining $1.4 billion loan balance of the total $2.5 billion committed to the project. The money is expected to be released to pipeline owners Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), Sunoco Logistics Partners, and Phillips 66 at any time. Lindsey Allen, Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network (RAN), issued the following statement in response:

“Disbursement of this project loan is a key test of the seriousness of these banks’ commitments to human and Indigenous rights. If Citibank, Wells Fargo and the other 15 banks involved with this loan sign the final check, they will have bankrolled a serious violation of human rights. Banks are not passive actors in this historic controversy, they are financing it and bear direct responsibility for the devastating consequences of the Dakota Access pipeline.

These 17 banks, led by Citi, TD Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho, have chosen to stand behind this abusive corporation to the tune of $2.5 billion despite the lack of consent from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, months of savage abuses by security forces against nonviolent demonstrators, the destruction of sacred native American burial sites and documented threats to critical drinking water supplies for downstream communities..."

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Item
30 November 2016

Citi's Statement on the Dakota Access Pipeline Project

Author: Citigroup

Citi has been closely monitoring developments related to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and we continue to be concerned about the situation. Throughout this process, and consistent with our commitment to sustainability and respect for human rights, we have remained engaged with Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics to discuss our concerns and advocate for constructive dialogue with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in an effort to come to a resolution.

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