Protests condemn U.S. Bank’s possible connection to pipeline company

The protesters started at Speakers Circle and marched to the Student Center, where they stood in silence outside of U.S. Bank. They concluded the protest by marching through the Student Center.
Protestors marched in order to raise awareness of claims that have been made regarding the potential loaning of money by U.S. Bank to a company connected with the Dakota Access Pipeline and other Bakken Pipeline Projects.

Members of Four Directions: Indigenous Peoples and Allies, Mizzou Energy Action Coalition and the Columbia community protested on campus Friday morning to raise awareness about U.S. Bank’s possible connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

U.S. Bank might have loaned money to Energy Transfer Partners, one of the companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline and other Bakken Pipeline Projects, although details of their involvement with the companies are unclear. Both ETP and U.S. Bank declined to comment on the financial connections between the two, but filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show that U.S. Bank offered to led up to $175 million to ETP, according to a Minnesota Public Radio report. It is not known if ETP borrowed the money, and if they did, how it was spent.

“We have been trying to get the attention of students and faculty and staff about U.S. Bank’s connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline,” graduate student Michael Borucke said. “We are urging folks who are concerned about the climate, who are concerned about drinking clean water and about future generations and what they’re going to live in, to really think about where they’re putting their money.”

The protesters started at Speakers Circle and marched to the Student Center, where they stood in silence outside of U.S. Bank. They concluded the protest by marching through the Student Center toward its Rollins Street exit. Outside the doors, they chanted, “Dirty banks just don’t compare with clean water; clean air.”

“One of our goals was to raise awareness, and especially with the younger group,” said Perry Bigsoldier, the founder of Protectors of Water and Land, a local environmentalist organization. “For them to be aware of the situation and to be pulling their money out is just tremendous.”

In addition to protesting the bank with signs saying “Climate action now,” and “Can’t drink oil,” two participants closed their accounts with the bank.

“It felt good once I finally got that cashier’s check,” said Lisa Aguilar, vice president of Four Directions: Indigenous People and Allies, an MU organization that advocates for indigenous peoples. “Now I’m going to go to a credit union and put some money where it’s not for profit.”

Aguilar said she would put her money into Tigers Community Credit Union.

“Every penny we can pull out of their pockets is better for us and less for them,” Bigsoldier said. “We’re trying to kill this black snake dead.”

Edited by Madi McVan | mmcvan@themaneater.com

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