Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has introduced legislation urging Mayor Ed Murray to curtail the city’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo because of the bank’s investment in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline
The city should cut its ties with Wells Fargo Bank in part because of the bank’s investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant says.
Legislation introduced by Sawant requests that Seattle’s mayor refrain from banking or conducting other business with Wells Fargo Bank for at least one year, when the city’s current contract with the bank ends Dec. 31, 2018.
Sawant said she would be glad to act sooner, if the community wants it and there is a way to sever the relationship more quickly. The bank is embroiled in multiple scandals.
The legislation was assigned to the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods & Finance Committee Tuesday, and is expected to be brought up for discussion in January.
- Background stories: Here's a primer on the pipeline project, including the key players on all sides, a brief history of broken treaty promises and a closer look at the courtroom battle. And here's what we're reading related to the controversy.
- March 28: What the completed Dakota Access pipeline means for key players.
- Feb. 23: Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp closed; 46 holdouts arrested.
- Feb. 22: Preparing to leave, Standing Rock protesters ceremonially burn camp.
- Feb. 13: Judge rejects tribes’ bid to halt Dakota Access Pipeline; feds plan to shut down protest camp.
- Feb. 1: Hundreds rally as the Seattle City Council considers divesting from Wells Fargo because of its role as a Dakota Access Pipeline lender.
- Jan. 24, 2017: Donald Trump signs executive orders advancing the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says it will push back.
- Dec. 4, 2016: Tribes celebrate as Corps rejects Dakota Access pipeline easement
- Nov. 21: Washington tribes urge that Obama stop, reroute Dakota Access Pipeline
- Nov. 12: Hundreds rally in Tacoma against Dakota Access Pipeline
- Live updates from from Seattle Times journalists on the scene Oct. 26, 27 and 28.
- Oct. 25: Tribes in Washington state call on President Obama to improve federal consultations over infrastructure projects
- Oct. 24: Citing treaty claim, protesters occupy land a rancher recently sold to pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners.
- See photos from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
Wells Fargo currently manages more than $3 billion of the city’s operating account, including a biweekly payroll of $30 million for approximately 12,000 employees. The average daily balance in the city’s account with Wells Fargo is about $73 million.
Wells Fargo along with 16 other banks, is a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Wells Fargo has $120 million in a $2.5 billion credit agreement funding the pipeline project, according to Jessica R. Ong of Wells Fargo Corporate Communications.
Pipeline construction is on pause after the U.S. Army Corps did not provide a final easement required for the project and ordered a full environmental review of the pipeline, including consideration of alternative routes. The pipeline is intended to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois to connect to other pipelines and refineries.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has opposed the project, arguing it threatens the tribe’s drinking water and sacred sites.
Thousands of demonstrators, including members of Washington tribes also fighting fossil fuel projects, have gathered at protests camps near the pipeline’s crossing at the Missouri River.