Olympia may follow Seattle’s lead and stop doing business with a bank involved with the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline project in North Dakota.
This week, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to sever financial ties with Wells Fargo over the bank’s role as a lender for the project. That decision calls for ending Seattle’s contract with Wells Fargo — which manages more than $3 billion for the city — upon expiration in 2018 and not making any new investments in the bank’s securities for three years.
Some residents want Olympia to do the same with U.S. Bank, which is among several banks providing financing to Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline. U.S. Bank committed to lend up to $175 million, according to reports.
In October, the Olympia City Council passed a resolution opposing the pipeline and calling on the federal government to obtain consent from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe before allowing the project. \
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The tribe fears a leak from the pipeline could pollute its main source of drinking water.
Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Jones suggested that the matter be referred to the city’s finance committee to determine “what we’re allowed to do, what we’re capable of, and what’s appropriate to our community.”
Olympia City Councilmember Jim Cooper noted that Seattle has more freedom to make such a decision because it is a charter city and has more autonomy.
Borrowing large amounts of money from small local banks can be difficult to arrange, he said.