Originally published on martinezlaw.net.
The Dakota Access Pipeline presents an unfolding disaster with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples and basic international human rights standards. The heavily-militarized reaction by North Dakota police, supported by officers from surrounding states, as well as by private security contractors working for Dakota Access, has crossed the line with respect to international human rights standards we expect nations and corporations to adhere to.
Like any other large-scale energy infrastructure project, Dakota Access relies on financial institutions to provide the money it needs to construct its proposed pipeline. In addition to equity investment in the companies behind Dakota Access — which includes Energy Transfer Partners, Energy Transfer Equity and Sunoco Logistics, construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline relies heavily on debt.
In its report titled “Who’s Banking on the Dakota Access Pipeline?,” Food and Water Watch has done a lot of work putting together the pieces of the financing puzzle for Dakota Access. Among the many financial institutions providing financing for the Dakota Access Pipeline is Den Norske Bank – DNB (The Bank of Norway). On November 7, 2016, DNB announced that it was reconsidering its investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The bank stated:
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 … If these initiatives do not give appeasing answers and results, DNB will consider its further involvement in the financing of the project.
In response to DNB’s statement, the Red Owl Legal Collective, an organization formed with support from the National Lawyers Guild to assist in coordinating legal support for the growing resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, transmitted a letter to DNB documenting human rights concerns and urging DNB to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline. A copy of the letter is available here.
Michelle Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org