Seattle is on track to end ties with Wells Fargo over the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.
The Seattle City Council Finance Committee voted 8-0 on Wednesday to divest $3 billion in City of Seattle money out of Wells Fargo over the bank's role as lender for the Dakota Access Pipeline and seek a more socially responsible bank to manage the city's money.
A full vote by the Seattle City Council is scheduled for Monday.
Anti-pipeline protesters rallied outside City Hall before the meeting and spoke in front of council members during public comments.
KING5. Mass of people demonstrating outside Seattle City Hall encouraging city council to divest from Wells Fargo Bank. pic.twitter.com/Epx7sCrOwY— Tom Hickey (@THickeyKing5) February 1, 2017
The bill is co-sponsored by council members Kshama Sawant and Tim Burgess and was heard by the finance committee in council chamber packed with local tribal members, urging the council to cut ties with Wells Fargo.
"We know Wells Fargo is all about the money. See this picture of all the police standing in front of Wells Fargo? So we're asking you to divest," said one protester.
“If Seattle divests from Wells Fargo, it will greatly fuel the inspiring nationwide struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the oil lobby. I urge Councilmembers to support this legislation tomorrow, as part of Seattle’s fightback against Trump and the billionaire class,” Sawant said in a released statement.
After the committee voted to approve the bill, anti-pipeline protesters held a "victory rally" outside City Hall.
If the bill is approved by the full Seattle City Council, Seattle would be the first major city to end its relationship with a major funder of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.
David Kennedy, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo Bank, released the following the following statement:
Wells Fargo is proud of the support we have diligently and professionally provided the City of Seattle as its operating bank since 1999. In the state of Washington, we will continue to serve our local customers and be the same committed community partner, where in 2016 we donated more than $3.8 million to nonprofits and schools. In addition, we provided $248.5 million in community development loans and investments in support of affordable housing and economic development.
While Wells Fargo is one of 17 financial institutions involved in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, the loans we have provided represent less than five percent of the total. We are obligated to fulfill our legal obligations as outlined under the credit agreement, as long as the customer continues to meet all of its terms and conditions.
We are committed to supporting responsible development of all forms of energy. Last year alone, projects owned in whole or in part by Wells Fargo produced 10 percent of all solar photovoltaic and wind energy generated in the U.S. Since 2012, the company has invested more than $52 billion in environmentally sustainable businesses.
As a company committed to environmental sustainability and human rights, we respect all the views being expressed by Tribal governments and communities, other groups and individuals in the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute. We hope that all parties involved will work together to reach a peaceful resolution.
Copyright 2016 KING