US Bank To Stop Funding Oil & Gas Pipelines Amid Calls For Divestment

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline rappel from the catwalk in U.S. Bank Stadium during the first half of an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP/Andy Clayton-King)

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline rappel from the catwalk in U.S. Bank Stadium during the first half of an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP/Andy Clayton-King)

With the global divestment movement expanding exponentially comes a new victory: U.S. Bank, one of the largest in the United States, announced last month that it will be excluding gas and oil pipelines from their project financing, making it the first major U.S. bank to take a step toward such a climate change policy.

While U.S. Bank renewed its commitments with Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, and with Enbridge Energy, whose pipelines operate in Minnesota, as recently as March of this year, activists still hope the bank’s newly released policy will halt these relationships.

“U.S. Bank’s new policy is an important step in protecting the environment and moving towards a fossil-free future,” Wichahpi Otto, a volunteer with the climate justice group MN350, said in a statement. “We applaud them for responding to the community and contributing to worldwide efforts to address climate change.”

Just this past week, thousands of people held over 260 events in over 45 countries on six continents, during the Global Divestment Mobilization, GDM from May 5 to 13. The aim of the mass mobilization was to pressure institutions to break financial ties with fossil fuel companies.

Ahead of the G7 Summit in Sicily, Italy, as well as the Bonn climate talks in Bonn, Germany, activist groups are setting the groundwork for future divestments.

“The future is in the reinvestment of the divested funds to support the communities most impacted by climate change and the dirty energy based economy,” said climate justice organization 350.org in a statement. “The divestment movement is modeling what governments need to be doing: withdrawing funds from the problem and investing in solutions.”


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