Oil may already be flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, but that doesn’t mean that the resistance movement against it has ended. Two L.A. city councilmembers introduced a motion yesterday (March 28) for the city to divest from Wells Fargo, one of the banks financing the $3.78 billion project.
“I want to send a clear message to the financial institutions everywhere that Los Angeles must fulfill its role as a national leader on the environment,” wrote Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell on his Facebook page. “The actions we take locally have consequences elsewhere, and we must not be complicit in a scheme that negatively affects ancestral lands or the sovereign rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota.”
The motion, introduced by O’Farrell and Councilmember Paul Koretz, asks the city’s Office of Finance to report options for divestment in 30 days. The city currently holds more than $40 million in securities with Wells Fargo.
Seattle was the first city to divest from Wells Fargo in February when it finalized its move. Since the city first moved to do in December 2016, activists in several other cities have launched their own discussions: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Bellingham, Washington; San Francisco and New York, according to The Nation. The City of Davis voted in February to find a new bank or credit union to handle its finances.
Pipeline opponents are set on ending the flow of oil. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe remains in court against the Army Corps of Engineers for the lawsuit it launched in July 2016. Tribal leaders are hopeful the lawsuit will end in a win.
"The flow of oil under Lake Oahe is a temporary reminder of the pain this pipeline has perpetrated to those that have stood with Standing Rock and the devastation it has wreaked on sacred tribal sites, but hope remains," said Phillip Ellis, spokesperson for Earthjustice, the law nonprofit representing the tribe, to The Associated Press.