November 15, 2016
Sierra Club Maui Rallies Against the Dakota Access Pipeline
Calls on First Hawaiian Bank’s Owner to Pull its Financial Support from the Environmentally Devastating Project
On November 15th, over 100 Maui residents joined together to demand an end to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The protest rally, which is organized by the Sierra Club Maui Group and its allies, was part of an international day of action that targeted decision makers and stakeholders who have the power to stop the construction. The Maui rally was held in front of the First Hawaiian Bank’s Kahului Branch on Ka’ahumanu Avenue to highlight First Hawaiian Bank’s involvement in the building of the pipeline. First Hawaiian Bank is 80% owned by the French multinational bank BNP Paribas (1), which has loaned over $400 million to the companies building the pipeline (2).
“The only reason that projects like the Dakota Access pipeline are able to be built is because banks provide the funding. We shouldn’t be building new infrastructure that is both environmentally and culturally devastating, and banks have the power to put the brakes on these bad projects,” said Adriane Raff Corwin, Sierra Club Maui Group Coordinator. “If banks invest in projects that increase our reliance on fossil fuels, have the potential to contaminate precious water resources, and utterly disregard native peoples’ culture and history, then they are going to hear from us.”
Sierra Club of Hawai’i and Sierra Club Maui Group are asking First Hawaiian Bank customers to close their accounts with the bank. “Every person who closes their First Hawaiian Bank account is sending the message to its majority shareholder BNP Paribas that we won’t let you use our money to invest in projects that further global warming. If we stick together, we can force big banks to put people and the environment over profit,” said Marti Townsend, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawai’i. In a show of force throughout Hawai’i, there will be an identical protest rally outside the downtown Honolulu branch of First Hawaiian Bank on O’ahu at the same date and time.
In 2014, Energy Transfer Partners and Dakota Access proposed a 1,168-mile pipeline, which is just seven miles shorter than the now-rejected Keystone XL pipeline. In August 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the general permit that allowed construction to begin (using a little-known loophole called Nationwide Permit 12, which allows the process to be fast-tracked without adequate environmental review, tribal consultation, or public input). This pipeline, called “Dakota Access,” would carry fracked crude oil through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, and cut through communities, farms, sensitive natural areas, wildlife habitat, tribal lands, and the ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (the Tribe is part of the Sioux nation).
Not only would this pipeline threaten sacred sites and culturally important landscapes, it would also cross under the Missouri River just upstream of the Tribe’s drinking water supply, where a spill would constitute a serious threat to the Tribe’s culture and way of life. The Standing Rock Sioux have been protesting the pipeline in peaceful prayer camps since April, and thousands of supporters have joined them since the pipeline was approved, including unprecedented support from more than 200 other indigenous nations. This fracked oil pipeline, which was approved without adequate environmental reviews or public and tribal consultation, is bad for communities, water, wildlife, and our climate.
On September 9, in a partial victory, the federal government halted construction of the pipeline in the area bordering or under Lake Oahe near the Tribe’s lands until federal agencies can review whether the prior permitting decisions were appropriate. While construction is halted on a portion of the project, the Obama administration should finish the job and reject this dirty and dangerous pipeline once and for all.
We do not want, nor do we need, an expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. We have the technology and ability to continue and complete our transition to 100 percent clean renewable energy and leave dirty fuels like Bakken crude oil where they belong – in the ground.
- Ownership of First Hawaiian Bank – https://www.fhb.com/en/inside-fhb/
- BNP Paribas’ investment in Dakota Access – http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/who’s-banking-dakota-access-pipeline , http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/6/whos_investing_in_the_dakota_access