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Created on: 2016-11-01 00:00:00
Last update: 2020-07-06 16:10:40
Johan Frijns, Director at BankTrack
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|Sectors||Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil|
About Dakota Access Pipeline
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,172-mile-long underground crude oil pipeline. It is operated by Energy Transfer Partners (38.2%), Enbridge (27.6%), Phillips 66 (25%) and Marathon Petroleum (9.2%). The pipeline begins in the Bakken oil fields in Northwest North Dakota and travels in a more or less straight line south-east, across South Dakota and Iowa, to end at Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline pumps about half a million barrels of oil each day. The oil is sent to the East Coast refineries and other markets by train, or down another 750 miles to the Gulf Coast through a second pipeline.
What must happen
Banks must terminate their financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, as well as the financing of the companies behind the pipeline.
Social and human rights impacts
Violation of human rights The pipeline trajectory cuts through Native American sacred territories and unceded Treaty lands, passing within 500 feet of the Sioux reservation. It threatens air and water resources in the region and further downstream. Several sacred sites were bulldozed during construction, according to the Standing Rock Sioux.
In response to peaceful, on-site resistance, police from multiple U.S. states and agencies, members of the U.S. National Guard, and armed private security forces 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 were reported, while journalists covering the assault were arrested. The violence unleashed by security forces left hundreds severely injured. Police used water cannons in sub-zero temperatures, leading to life threatening situations. Arrested water protectors were subjected to inhumane treatment such as being strip searched and locked in wire cages compared to “dog kennels”.
Indigenous Peoples rights The DAPL project was constructed in clear violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). On 27th of July 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for violating the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws. The complaint says the Corps effectively wrote off the Tribe's concerns and ignored the pipeline's impacts to sacred sites and culturally important landscapes.
In September 2016 the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples called for the project to be halted, saying: “The [Standing Rock Sioux] tribe was denied access to information and excluded from consultations at the planning stage of the project and environmental assessments failed to disclose the presence and proximity of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.” An Amnesty International USA spokesperson stated in February 2017 that for the project to be completed "is an unlawful and appalling violation of human rights. The United States is obligated under international law to respect the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all other Indigenous Peoples. To allow this pipeline to go forward without sufficient assessment of how it will impact their land, culture, and access to clean water is a violation of their rights and sovereignty of their land.”
Environmental and climate impacts
The Dakota Access Pipeline route crosses sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat, and involves risks to water resources and animals and their habitats. The route allows the oil company to dig the pipeline under the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s drinking water supply. See National Geographic's overview of many of these impacts.
Oil spill risks In 2010, a single pipeline spill poured 1,000,000 gallons of toxic bitumen crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The cleanup cost over USD one billion and significant contamination remains. And in January of 2015, more than 50,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana. It was the second such spill in that area since 2011. Since 2009, the annual number of significant accidents on oil and petroleum pipelines has shot up by almost 60 percent, roughly matching the rise in U.S. crude oil production, according an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press. Nearly two-thirds of the leaks during that time have been linked to corrosion or material, welding and equipment failures, problems often associated with older pipelines, although they also can occur in newer ones, too. Other leaks were blamed on natural disasters or human error, such as a backhoe striking a pipeline. Industry officials and federal regulators say they have adequate means of gauging the safety of pipelines, but the aging infrastructure is a source of lingering concern for outside experts (source The Chicago Tribune).
Applicable norms and standards
Court scraps Dakota Access Pipeline permit, forcing shutdown
The Dakota Access pipeline must shut down by Aug. 5, a district court ruled Monday in a stunning defeat for the Trump administration and oil industry. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said a crucial federal permit for Dakota Access fell too far short of National Environmental Policy Act requirements to allow the pipeline to continue operating while regulators bolster their analysis. The ruling scraps a critical permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, and requires the pipeline to end its three-year run of delivering oil from North Dakota shale fields to an Illinois oil hub. Judge James E. Boasberg said Dakota Access must shut down the pipeline and empty it of oil by Aug. 5 (Bloomberg Law).
Court orders full environmental review for Dakota Access Pipeline
The future of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has been thrown into question after a federal court struck down its permits and ordered a comprehensive environmental review. The US army corps of engineers was ordered to conduct a full environmental impact statement (EIS), after the Washington DC court ruled that existing permits violated the National Environmental Policy Act (The Guardian).
Dakota Access pipeline: judge rules environmental survey was inadequate
A federal judge has handed a lifeline to efforts to block the Dakota Access pipeline, ruling Wednesday that the US Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the possible impacts of an oil spill where the pipeline passes under the Missouri river. US district judge James Boasberg said in a 91-page decision that the corps failed to take into account how a spill might affect “fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial” (source The Guardian).
Six banks step away from Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and backers
In February 2017, ABN AMRO, ING, BayernLB and Nordea all announced they would step away from financing the project or its backers. ABN AMRO committed to end its financing for Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) if the pipeline proceeds without consent from the Standing Rock Sioux or with further violence. Nordea excluded three companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline from investment. BayernLB stated it will withdraw from financing DAPL at the earliest opportunity, and not provide further finance. In March, ING became the first bank to sell its portion of a project loan to the pipeline. A good move followed by DNB (entered into an agreement to sell its part of the loan) and by BNP Paribas (sold its part of the loan in April).
Army Corps of Engineers issues easement, construction begun
On February 8, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement to Dakota Access, LLC allowing the installation of a thirty-inch diameter light crude oil pipeline under Federal lands managed by the Corps at Oahe Reservoir. The granting of this easement follows the February 7th Secretary of the Army decision to terminate the Notice of Intent to Perform an Environmental Impact Statement and notification to Congress of the Army’s intent to grant an easement to Dakota Access for the Lake Oahe crossing.
Seven banks—including Wells Fargo, TD Bank, and Citibank—will meet with Standing Rock Sioux leaders after months of intense defund-DAPL pressure
As fierce resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline played out on the North Dakota plains this fall and winter, other activists were putting pressure on the banks financing the pipeline. They called executives, held protests in branches, and moved their money. At least USD52 million has been withdrawn so far, according to organizers. Read more here.
Trump criticised on revival of Dakota Access Pipeline
Donald Trump was sharply criticised by Native Americans and climate change activists on Tuesday after he signed executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Both pipe projects had been blocked by Barack Obama’s administration, partly because of environmental concerns. But Trump has questioned the science of climate change and campaigned on a promise to expand energy infrastructure and create jobs (source The Guardian).
US Army Corps will not grant easement for Dakota Access Pipeline crossing
The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army's Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced on December 4.
Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis (source US Army Corps).
ABN AMRO Bank responds on Dakota Access Pipeline
ABN AMRO issued a statement denying involvement in the financing of the Dakota Pipeline, but acknowledged its credit relation with Energy Transfer Equity, the parent company of the project. Find the statement here (in Dutch).
Norwegian bank DNB sells it assets in companies building the Dakota Access Pipeline
The largest bank in Norway, DNB, has announced that it has sold its assets in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The assets were USD 3 million worth. DNB recently indicated that it is also reconsidering the loans it provided. In response to the news, Greenpeace Norway Sustainable Finance Campaigner Martin Norman said: “It is great that DNB has sold its assets in the disputed pipeline, and it is a clear signal that it is important that people speak out when injustice is committed. We now expect DNB to also terminate its loans for the project immediately.”
Norwegian bank DNB says considering pulling financing on Dakota Access Pipeline
Norwegian bank DNB will reconsider its participation in the financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline if concerns raised by Native American tribes are not addressed, the bank stated on November 6. Local authorities and protesters have been clashing over Energy Transfer Partner's USD 3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline project, which would offer the fastest and most direct route to bring shale oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Native American tribes contend that the pipeline would disturb sacred land and pollute waterways supplying nearby homes. "DNB looks with worry at how the situation around the pipeline in North Dakota has developed. The bank will therefore take initiative and use its position to bring about a more constructive process to find a solution to the conflict," Norway's largest bank said in a statement ( source Reuters).
ING expresses its concern in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline
ING, being one of 17 banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, with an investment of USD 120 million, expresses its concern in the following statement.
Joint Statement from the Dep. of Justice, the Dep. of the Army and the Dep. of the Interior Regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps
The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued the following statement regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: "We appreciate the District Court's opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved - including the pipeline company and its workers - deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe files their complaint
On July 27th 2016 a complaint was filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, represented by EarthJustice. The lawsuit challenges the federal government's deeply flawed process for permitting the pipeline. The project is expected to go forward without any comprehensive environmental review or meaningful consultation with the Tribe, as Dakota Access secured the necessary approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers using a self-service permitting scheme that is urgently in need of reform. Details of the complaint can be found here.
On August 2, 2016 17 banks signed onto a USD 2.5 billion loan to Dakota Access, LLC and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline. This loan is expected to make up all the rest of the capital needed to construct the project. Citi, Mizuho, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and TD Bank are lead banks regarding this loan.
The route of the pipeline, which crosses the Missouri River near the Standing Rock reservation, was agreed in September 2014, according to dates on Public Service Commission documents. (Bismark Tribune).
Update: ING, DnB and BNP Paribas all announced early 2017 that they will sell their part of the project loan. Please see here for more information.
Next to directly financing the construction of the pipeline through the project finance loan, more banks have also 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 (ETE) has a credit line with another USD 1.5 billion in commitments from most of the same big international banks.
On March 24, 2017, ETE signed a new credit agreement of USD 1.5 billion.
Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation pushes Deutsche Bank for fossil fuel divestment amidst pipeline shutdowns, a global pandemic and the climate crisis
As the Dakota Access Pipeline shuts down and the Atlantic Coast Gas pipeline goes bust, will banks finally draw the right lessons?
Dakota access pipeline: court strikes down permits in victory for Standing Rock Sioux
Indigenous Women file OECD Specific Instance against Credit Suisse for rights violations regarding pipeline financing
With New Equator Principles, Banks Fail to Act on Climate or Indigenous Rights
Energy Transfer, Banks Lost Billions by Ignoring Early Dakota Access Pipeline Concerns
We're Not Done With DAPL: How Investors Can Still Support Indigenous Rights
With politicians on its side, pipeline company ratchets up intimidation campaign
Indigenous, environmental and climate justice groups rally outside Equator Principles meeting
Big Banks Face Fossil Fuel Resistance at Annual Meetings
Depositors Disciplining Banks: The Impact of Scandals
Iowans Hold Wells Fargo Accountable for Funding Dirty Fuels and Pipelines
AGM briefing: Switzerland's per capita financing of fossil fuels worst in Europe, thanks to Credit Suisse and UBS
US Bank raises $2 billion in oil and gas pipeline finance since pledge to stop pipeline financing
Indigenous and Environmental Justice Groups Rally at U.S. Bank Headquarters to Protest the Bank’s Investment in Pipeline Projects
Five Spills, Six Months in Operation: Dakota Access Track Record Highlights Unavoidable Reality — Pipelines Leak
US Bank Declares End to Oil and Gas Pipeline Loans—Then Quietly Joins $4B Deal with Dakota Access Owner
Greenpeace v. Energy Transfer Partners: The Facts
Greenpeace & Indigenous Water Protectors Respond to Lawsuit Accusing DAPL Activists of Eco-Terrorism
Greenpeace sued over Dakota Access Pipeline
Why energy companies are accusing Greenpeace of breaking organized crime laws
Standing Against the Banks: DAPL Divestment and Water Protectors' Fight for Justice, Indigenous Rights, Water and Life
150,000 People Representing more than $4 Billion Call on Banks to Defund Tar Sands Pipelines
Ten Equator banks demand decisive action on Indigenous peoples following DAPL debacle
Leaked documents reveal counterterrorism tactics used at Standing Rock to “defeat pipeline insurgencies"
Pipeline action at Société Générale: French banks must not be Trump accomplices
Foley Hoag Releases Summary Report on Good Practices for Oil Pipelines, as Commissioned by the Dakota Access Consortium of Lenders
Dakota Access Pipeline Has Already Leaked 84 Gallons Of Oil
Indigenous leaders launch new campaign to defund all four proposed tar sands pipelines
Climate activists shut down Chase bank branches in Seattle; arrests made
Energy Transfer: Which banks continue to support the company behind DAPL?
ING Bank Just Divested Their DAPL Financing—We All Helped to Change Their Mind
ING first bank to sell Dakota Access Pipeline loan debt – BankTrack reaction
Standing Rock applauds Netherlands-based bank’s move to offload DAPL debt
Dakota Access Pipeline : Crédit Agricole fait un petit pas, les autres banques françaises font profil bas
San Francisco Moves To Divest USD 1.2 billion From companies financing Dakota Access Pipeline
UK Banks Continue to Bankroll Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, as Green Party Calls for 'Immediate' Divestment
Private investor divests $34.8m from firms tied to Dakota Access pipeline
Big investors press banks over Dakota Access pipeline
Pope Francis appears to back tribal land rights in Dakota Access Pipeline fight
Final phase of Dakota Access pipeline to be approved, a major blow to Standing Rock Sioux
Dakota-pijplijn krijgt vergunning
Over 700,000 people demand banks stop financing the Dakota Access Pipeline
ABN AMRO threatens to stop financing company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline
Banks Agree to Talk With Tribe (While Handing over Millions for Dakota Access)
RAN Statement on Continued Investment in Energy Transfer Equity
10 Banks financing Dakota Access Pipeline decline meeting with tribal leaders
Standing Rock protesters unfurl banner over field at Minneapolis NFL game
Standing Rock activists eye pipeline finances to cement Dakota Access win
Dakota Access company takes its battle to finish oil pipeline to court
Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners Respond to the Statement from the Department of the Army
350.org Japan and Green Peace Japan Hold Joint #NoDAPL Action Encouraging Japanese Banks' to Divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline
Activists Around the World Take #NoDAPL Fight to the Banks
Global call on banks to halt loan to Dakota Access Pipeline
How Indigenous Activists in Norway Got the First Bank to Pull Out of the Dakota Access Pipeline
Dans le Dakota du Nord, violences et course contre la montre pour les anti-oléoduc
Police defend use of water cannons on Dakota Access protesters in freezing weather
Sunoco Logistics to acquire Energy Transfer Partners in USD 20 billion combo
IEEFA Report: Dakota Access Pipeline Driven by ‘High-Risk Financing’ in Overbuilt Region; Little-Known Economic Weaknesses in Controversial Project
U.N. officials denounce ‘inhuman’ treatment of Native American pipeline protesters
Amid 'Crisis and Scandal,' Global Banks Called to Stop Funding Dakota Access
Norway's biggest bank may reconsider Dakota Access funding
Dakota pipeline operator to defy Obama and prepare for final phase of drilling
RAN Statement on Citigroup’s Leading Role in Financing Dakota Access Pipeline
An open letter to the Equator Principles Association
Dakota Access: company under scrutiny over sacred artifacts in oil pipeline's path
Dakota Access pipeline: police fire rubber bullets and mace activists during water protest
A million people 'check in' at Standing Rock on Facebook to support Dakota pipeline protesters
Dakota Access pipeline protesters set for 'last stand' on banks of Missouri river
Dakota Access pipeline protests: UN group investigates human rights abuses
Could Dakota Access Pipeline Owners Be Legally Liable for Human Rights Abuses?
North Dakota pipeline protesters pushed back from site after 141 arrested
Making History at Standing Rock: Tribes Are Leading Action to Preserve the Planet
Who Is Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline? Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo
Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Native American Protesters with Dogs and Pepper Spray
Case Submission: Did Banks Contribute To Dakota Access Pipeline Human Rights Impacts?
How banks contribute to human rights violations
Letter from SumOfUs, As You Sow to Wells Fargo on Shareholder resolution to adopt a policy regarding the rights of indigenous people
DAPL U.S. fish and wildlife service environmental assessment grassland and wetland easement crossings
Public Summary of Foley Hoag LLP Report, “Good Practice for Managing the Social Impacts of Oil Pipelines in the United States”
Society for Threatened Peoples files OECD complaint against Credit Suisse at the OECD National Contact Point (NCP) Switzerland
Letter from Resistance Events Italy, BankTrack and others to Intesa SanPaolo on DAPL (Italian)
Letter from Resistance Events Italy, BankTrack and others to Intesa SanPaolo on DAPL (English)
The High Risk Financing Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline
Open letter civil society groups to Equator Principles Association
Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. 8-K Filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission
The project became public in July 2014, and informational hearings for landowners took place between August 2014 and January 2015. Dakota Access submitted its plan to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) on October 29, 2014, and applied for a permit in January 2015. The IUB was the last of the four state regulators to grant the permit in March 2016, including the use of eminent domain, after some public controversy. As of May 2016, Dakota Access had secured voluntary easements on 96 percent of the necessary land across four states along the proposed pipeline route.
The pipeline has been controversial regarding violations of Indigenous rights, as the pipeline path crosses Native American sacred sites and threatens drinking water at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The pipeline is also criticized for its potential harm to the environment and impact on climate change. An unprecedented number of Native Americans in Iowa and the Dakotas have opposed the pipeline, including the Meskwaki and several Sioux tribal nations. In July 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C., arguing that the pipeline threatens their culture and way of life. The resistance camp at the pipeline site in North Dakota drew massive support from Native American groups and allies across the world.
Native water protectors at the prayer and resistance camp have been brutally confronted by law enforcement and private security forces. Indiscriminate use of attack dogs, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tazers and mace are reported, while journalists covering the assault on non-violent water protectors have been arrested. Protesters that have been arrested have been subjected to inhumane treatment that involved, amongst other things, being locked up naked, or cramped without food and warmth into dog kennels.