For IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Surprise #NoDAPL Protest inside of DAPL-Funding Wells Fargo
Seattle, WA: 30+ people from the climate action group 350 Seattle disrupted business at Wells Fargo in Seattle today to protest the company’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Singing as they entered, the activists unfurled banners that had been hidden in yoga mats, such as “Wells Fargo: Divest Now, Not in our Name, Not with our Money”, “Defund Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL”, and “Dump Wells Fargo: Use Credit Unions”. When the singing stopped, they read this demand letter, addressing Timothy Sloane, the new (post-scandal) Wells Fargo CEO, as well as the whole board. “If you want not only a stable world for your children and theirs, but also a stable bottom line for Wells Fargo,” part of the letter read, “new fossil fuel infrastructure is both immoral and deeply misguided.” A livestream is here.
The protest is part of a national month of action in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and tribes from across the continent standing with them in opposition to the proposed pipeline, and was done in conjunction with an action outside of the same Wells Fargo, scheduled for 2pm this afternoon, which is expected to attract at least a hundred people. The Standing Rock tribe has vigorously opposed DAPL since last January. When construction began in August, a call went out for support: thousands of people, including representatives from hundreds of tribal nations, have travelled to the encampment in Cannonball, North Dakota.
The most immediate threat of the pipeline is to the water supply of Standing Rock, but the resolve of the Standing Rock Sioux and others goes beyond the issue of drinking water, and encompasses earth and climate protection more broadly. Two months ago, a delegation of representatives from many Northwest tribes–including the Lummi, the Yakama, the Swinomish, and the Tsleil Waututh–arrived at the encampment, and their speeches referenced their similar struggles, from the fight against the Cherry Point coal terminal to the fight against the Trans-Mountain pipeline in BC. “When we win, we’ll change the world” said Sundance Chief Rueben George of the Tsleil Waututh. “We have the spirit.”
The organizers of the protest have worked with local indigenous leaders all fall on solidarity actions and fundraisers. They say that this protest is a shot across the bow. “These catastrophic projects can’t continue, and as citizens of Planet Earth, we can’t allow banks to use our money to fund them, ” says organizer Barb Drake. “These are not normal times, and this is not normal business. We’re encouraging everyone to close their accounts at the funders of DAPL, and we’ll do the same for funders of other dirty energy projects, like tar sands development. The stakes are just too high.” Wells Fargo is one of the biggest funders of DAPL, they point out, and Norway’s biggest bank, as well as another Norwegian fund, have already started pulling funding from the project; they feel confident that U.S. financial institutions are not far behind.
both pics by John Duffy