420 civil society organisations from more than 50 countries today issued a joint open letter to the seventeen banks providing a US$2.5 billion project loan to Dakota Access LLC. The letter, endorsed by the Standing Rock Sioux, demands that the banks involved immediately halt all further disbursements of the loan and require the project sponsor to stop construction work until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux. The letter and the full list of signatories can be found here.
Open Letter To:
Mr. Takashi Oyamada, CEO Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ,
Mr. Michael Corbat, CEO Citigroup,
Mr. Nobuhide Hayashi, CEO Muziho,
Mr. Bharat Masrani , CEO TD Bank,
Mr. Johannes-Jörg Riegler, CEO BayernLB,
Mr. Carlos Torres Vila, CEO BBVA,
Mr. Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO BNP Paribas,
Mr. Philippe Brassac, CEO Crédit Agricole S.A.,
Mr. Rune Bjerke, CEO DnB Norway,
Mr. Jiang Jianqing, CEO ICBC,
Mr. Ralph Hamers, CEO ING,
Mr. Carlo Messina, CEO Intesa Sanpaolo,
Mr. Laurent Mignon, CEO Natixis,
Mr. Takeshi Kunibe, CEO SMBC,
Mr. Frédéric Oudéa, CEO Société Générale,
Mr. William H. Roger Jr., CEO SunTrust,
Mr. Timothy Sloan, CEO Wells Fargo,
Concerning: Halt your support to the Dakota Access Pipeline
November 30th 2016
The undersigned organizations are writing to you to share our deep concern about your participation in a credit agreement led by Citibank with Dakota Access LLC and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company LLC, to borrow up to $2.5 billion to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline in the United States.
As you are aware, the proposed 1,172 mile-long DAPL is the subject of a huge international outcry, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, but supported by the native governments of over 280 other groups of indigenous peoples and allies from all over the world. This growing global resistance opposes DAPL because the pipeline trajectory is cutting through Native American sacred territories and unceded Treaty lands, and because it threatens air and water resources in the region and further downstream.
Since last April, an ever growing number of Native water protectors and their thousands of allies have converged peacefully at Standing Rock in the pipeline construction area to halt further construction of the project. In response to this strictly-peaceful, on-site resistance, police from multiple U.S. states and agencies, members of the U.S. National Guard, and armed private security forces working for project sponsors have used military equipment, tactics and weapons to intimidate, assault, arrest and otherwise commit grievous human rights violations against water protectors and their allies. Indiscriminate use of attack dogs, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tazers and mace are reported, while journalists covering the assault have been arrested. The violence unleashed on the protesters by security forces has already left hundreds severely injured. Last week, protesters were attacked with water cannons used in sub-zero temperatures, leading to life threatening situations. One protester faces a possible amputation of her arm after being hit with a concussion grenade. Protesters that have been arrested have also been subjected to inhumane treatment that involved, among other things, being locked up naked, or cramped without food and warmth into dog kennels.
As the loan syndicate is led by four banks that are signatory to the Equator Principles, this project loan is subject to these Principles. Given that Indigenous rights commitments are presumed to be respected by the Principles, specifically the right of indigenous communities to withhold consent to projects affecting their ancestral lands (FPIC), it is for us inexplicable that the clear and long standing opposition to the project by the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as widely documented gross violations of Native land titles, threats to water sources and the desecration of burial grounds have not been identified early on as reasons for participating banks to not provide funding for this project. Harm to Native areas has now already occurred when DAPL personnel deliberately desecrated documented burial grounds and other culturally important sites. Native American opponents to the project have emphasized throughout that the DAPL struggle is about larger Native liberation, self-determination and survival at the hands of colonial corporations and compliant government actors.
The undersigned organizations are closely watching how the banks providing financial support to the project are acting on the ever worsening situation on the ground, including your bank.Given your stated commitment to respect indigenous rights and the contrast with the harsh reality on the ground we demand that:
- all further loan disbursements to the project are immediately put on hold;
- banks involved in the loan demand from the project sponsor that all construction of the pipeline and all associated structures is put on hold until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux;
- in case such a resolution of outstanding issues is not achieved with the Standing Rock Sioux, your bank fully withdraws from the loan agreement;
- a public statement is made by your bank on how you will act on the issues identified above.
Johan Frijns, Director
Contact: Johan Frijns, Director BankTrack, Tel: +31 24 3249220
Please find the PDF version of the letter here.
Related banks (see addressee list above)
Banks have committed substantial resources to the Energy Transfer family of companies so it can build more oil and gas infrastructure. Energy Transfer Partners has a revolving credit line of USD 3.75 billion toward expanding its oil and gas infrastructure holdings, with commitments from 26 banks. Sunoco Logistics has a credit line of USD 2.5 billion in commitments from 24 banks. Energy Transfer Equity has a credit line with another USD 1.5 billion in commitments from most of the same big international banks.
November 2, 2016: ING expresses its concern on being involved in funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to this statement.
November 3, 2016: the Royal Bank of Scotland vehemently denied having any connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline when speaking to CommonSpace, saying that the relationship is a past one and that issue had been terminated. An RBS spokesperson said: "We're not funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. RBS has never had a banking relationship with Dakota Access LLC. RBS provided financial support to the parent company of Dakota Access LLC but have since exited the relationship."
What must happen