California City of Davis Divests from Wells Fargo in DAPL Protest

By Yessenia Funes Feb 09, 2017

After Seattle, another West Coast city has taken a stand against the $3.78 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. Davis, CA is the latest to divest from Wells Fargo, one of the banks financing the project that was developed in large part by Energy Transfer Partners.

The Davis City Council voted unanimously last night (February 8) to find a new bank or credit union to handle its finances, according to The Sacramento Bee. The bank currently provides the city with checking and credit card services, as well as investments and bonds. Wells Fargo handles the city’s $30 million in investments and its $1 million average cash balance, said Pamela Day, the city’s financial services manager to the Bee.

This decision came after residents expressed concern over Wells Fargo’s involvement with the crude oil pipeline that is set to transport the fossil fuel from North Dakota into Illinois. On February 7, the Army Corps of Engineers announced  it would grant the final easement needed to complete construction of the pipeline.

The decision is similar to the one that was reached earlier this week in Seattle, the first city to divest from Wells Fargo over the pipeline controversy. The Seattle City Council voted—also unanimously—to break ties with the bank on February 7, reports The Seattle Times. The bank currently oversees the city’s average daily cash balance of $10 million, as well as its financial transactions that can total $3 billion in a year. Their contract ends in 2019.  

In response to the divestment, Wells Fargo emphasized that it is “a leader in the financing of renewable energy and clean technology,” in an email to Colorlines. Their statement read:

We will continue investing in this diverse and dynamic community that Wells Fargo has been devoted to since 1859. We will continue to support affordable housing and strengthen Seattle neighborhoods. We will continue to give back through volunteerism and corporate philanthropy. And we will continue to invest in entrepreneurship and help create jobs as the No. 2 small business lender in Washington.

Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant, the council’s first socialist, helped write the divestment legislation and released her comments from the final vote online: “There is no guarantee that when we fight, we will win, but it is for sure that if we don’t fight, we will lose. And I want to thank the Indigenous community as a whole for showing so clearly to all of us that our fight for our planet is paramount.”

Sawant also used the statement to pay ode to other peoples, organizations and banks that have moved to disassociate themselves with the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here is a full list of entities that have divested from the project.

  • Swedish bank Nordea pledged it would divest if companies behind the project “violate the demands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.” Yesterday, their team for Responsible Investments recommended that the bank end its investments with Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics and Philips 66.
  • The Muckleshoot Tribal Council voted February 3 to also divest from Wells Fargo.
  • Norway’s largest bank, DNB, pulled $3 million in holdings from the project in November.
  • That same month, one of the country’s leading fund managers, ODIN Fund Management, sold $23.8 million worth of shares invested in the project.
  • Individuals have accumulated over $60 million in divestments from banks that finance the pipeline.