SEATTLE - A Seattle City Council committee voted Wednesday to divest $3 billion in city funds from Wells Fargo, which is one of the financial institutions that is financing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
More than 300 people showed up at the city council meeting to speak in support of the move. Others were forced to remain outside the council chambers as the room was at capacity.
Those people are now cheering the decision by the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee to go forward with legislation proposed by council member Kshama Sawant to remove deposits from Wells Fargo and seek a “more socially responsible bank.”
The legislation will go to a full city council vote on Monday.
If the proposal does receive approval from the full council Monday, it means the city will put out bids to other banks for the city to do business with.
If Council Bill 118883 passes, Seattle would be the first major municipality to end its relationship with a major funder of the pipeline, according to climate justice group 350 Seattle.
Wells Fargo released the following statement regarding Sawant's proposal:
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.
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