The activists at the Rainforest Action Network have ramped up their campaign against the banks financing the Dakota Access pipeline. Last month, RAN called on Citigroup to “halt all further loan disbursements for the Dakota Access pipeline and ensure that the project sponsors immediately halt construction, unless all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”
RAN cited Citigroup’s involvement with the Equator Principles—a set of rules adopted by financial institutions “for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in project finance”—as they reason they should stop funding DAPL.
When that didn’t get the desired response, RAN and 500 other activist groups—including 350.org, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club—sent an open letter last week to the CEOs of 17 banks that are financing DAPL, demanding an “immediate halt to financing the DAPL.” And once again, they cited the Equator Principles as justification for their actions.
“The undersigned organizations,” they wrote, “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.” (Emphasis added.)
This recent action is one part of a coordinated, multifaceted effort to pressure financial services companies—including insurance providers, institutional investors and their advisors—into defunding or divesting from oil and natural gas projects. Following the results of the presidential election, environmental activists have shifted their focus away from federal regulatory and legislative battles toward more unconventional fights on the state and local levels, as well as online. Unfortunately, it looks like this campaign against the banks financing DAPL is a harbinger of things to come.