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Seattle to Cut Ties with Wells Fargo Over Oil Pipeline

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council on Tuesday voted to chop ties with banking big Wells Fargo over its position as a lender to the Dakota Access pipeline venture in addition to different enterprise practices.

The group erupted in cheers and chanted “water is life” when the council unanimously handed the measure, which directs officers to finish the town’s contract with the San Francisco-based financial institution as soon as it expires in 2018 and to not make new investments in Wells Fargo securities for 3 years.

“The instance that we now have set at the moment can change into a beacon of hope” for activists throughout the nation, mentioned Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who co-sponsored the laws.

Seattle’s measure comes on the identical day that the Army told Congress that it’ll permit the $three.eight billion Dakota Entry oil pipeline to cross below a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota, finishing the disputed four-state venture. The stretch is the ultimate large chunk of labor on the 1,200-mile pipeline that may carry North Dakota oil by way of the Dakotas and Iowa to a transport level in Illinois.

The Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation is simply downstream from the pipeline’s crossing, fears a leak would pollute the tribe’s consuming water. The tribe has led protests that drew a whole bunch and at occasions 1000’s of people that dubbed themselves “water protectors” to an encampment close to the crossing.

Tribal members urged the Seattle council to ship a broader message to oppose the pipeline and stand with indigenous folks.

“You will have been a metropolis setting the instance to the world and I look to you to do this now,” Olivia One Feather, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, instructed the council. “When large cities similar to this do the appropriate factor, it sparks hope on the planet.”

Environmental activists throughout the nation have referred to as on a variety of banks to cease financing the development of the oil pipeline in addition to on people to tug their cash out of these banks.

Wells Fargo has mentioned it’s one in every of 17 concerned in financing the pipeline and that it’s obligated by perform its credit score settlement. The financial institution is offering $120 million of the $2.5 billion.

“Whereas we’re upset that the town has determined to finish our 18-year relationship, we stand able to assist Seattle with its monetary companies wants sooner or later,” mentioned Tim Brown, Wells Fargo Center Market Banking regional supervisor.

Wells Fargo manages greater than $three billion of Seattle’s working account, processing every thing from payroll and vendor funds to revenues collected from metropolis enterprise taxes to metropolis fines.

The laws handed Tuesday calls out Wells Fargo for a variety of enforcement orders issued towards it in recent times. Regulators fined Wells Fargo $185 million after staff opened tens of millions of buyer accounts fraudulently to fulfill gross sales objectives.

Within the wake of that scandal, California and Illinois introduced they might droop some enterprise relationships with the financial institution. Additionally in response, Seattle metropolis officers final October ended negotiations with Wells Fargo over a $100-million bond deal for the town’s electrical utility.

Some who spoke Tuesday urged the council to search for a nonprofit financial institution, credit score union or different monetary establishment that aligns with the town’s social values when it seeks to switch Wells Fargo.

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