Jules van Os, Media Relations, Dutch Fair Finance Guide, +31 6 51573683
Johan Frijns, Director BankTrack, +31 24 324 92 20
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ABN AMRO, the Dutch bank, today announced that it will end its financing for Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) if the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will be constructed without the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, or if further violence will be used. The Dutch Fair Finance Guide, Greenpeace Netherlands and BankTrack welcome the decision of ABN AMRO, and call on other banks, including ING in the Netherlands, to follow this example and end all outstanding finance to the pipeline and the companies behind it if no agreement is reached with the Sioux Tribe about the pipeline.
Peter Ras, project leader of the Dutch Fair Finance Guide, said: “ABN AMRO has already actively engaged with ETE on the ongoing violation of the rights of the Sioux tribe. It has now decided that the relation with ETE will be terminated if it does not fully respect the rights of the Sioux, or if further violence will be used against them. With this decision, ABN AMRO sets a fine example in taking its social responsibility, an example that ING and other banks need to follow!”
ETE is the parent company of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the majority owner of Dakota Access LLP, which is leading the pipeline construction. ABN AMRO is not taking part in the consortium of 17 banks, led by Citi and also including ING, that is directly financing the pipeline project. A large number of other banks, including –until now– ABN AMRO, have also provided credit facilities to the main companies behind the pipeline: ETE, ETP and Sunoco Logistics.
ABN AMRO provided a total of USD 45 million in credit to ETE. It has now decided: "The bank has informed ETE of its strict adherence to FPIC principles and, accordingly, its desire that an acceptable non-violent solution be found among all parties impacted by the construction of the DAPL, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. If such a solution is not achieved, the ultimate consequence will be discontinuation of the relationship. In the meantime, ABN AMRO will not pursue any new business with ETE until there is clarity regarding the situation and an acceptable outcome has been achieved".
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, supported by a wide range of groups worldwide, has protested already for months against the construction of the pipeline. The tribe fears that the construction of the pipeline will lead to pollution of their water sources and the destruction of sacred burial grounds. Private security services acting for the companies involved and the US National Guard have repeatedly used violence against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters on the ground.
Construction of the pipeline was put on hold in December 2016 after a decision by the Obama administration to deny any permit until the completion of a new, detailed environmental assessment. The companies involved appealed against the obligation for a new environmental assessment, but this was rejected earlier this month. On January 24th, President Trump signed an executive order paving the way for the completion of the pipeline, followed by further pressure on the US army corps of engineers to grant the permit. No such permit has been issued so far.
Johan Frijns, director of BankTrack, commented: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is becoming a litmus test for all banks involved on how they weigh in the social, human rights and environmental impacts of their lending. IF ETE/ETP continues to violate the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and therefore the safeguard policies of banks involved, there is no other option left but to fully withdraw from the project. ING and all other banks involved would do well to draw the same conclusion as ABN AMRO.”
Kim Schoppink, campaign leader at Greenpeace said: "ING told us last week that it had recently sold its shares in the companies behind the pipeline, worth USD 220 million. But ING continues to be part of the loan consortium for the pipeline and also continues to provide credit facilities to ETE and ETP. ING therefore remains co-responsible for the human rights violations and environmental impacts caused by the project".