On Oct. 11, the Olympia City Council approved Resolution No. M-1850, supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) across the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters, and sacred sites.
The resolution recognized the threat DAPL poses to the agricultural land and drinking water that serves nearly 10 million people, and cites the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to obtain the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as required by the Treaty of Fort Laramie.
Yet the city of Olympia continues to use US Bank, one of the banks funding DAPL, for depository services. According to the most recent publicly available financial statements, the City had $16.2 million deposited at US Bank at the end of 2015.
At the March 7, City Council meeting, Council members explained that it’s difficult to find local banks with the capacity to handle the city’s needs, including a monthly payroll of $5 million. Perhaps Olympia should consult its neighbor, the city of Lacey, which has a comparable size budget and payroll, and uses Northwest community banks Columbia Bank and Heritage Bank.
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Council members also explained that the city would face significant costs to change financial institutions, in order to change automatic payroll and billing setups. Olympia should weigh these costs and inconveniences against the irreparable harm DAPL and its funders, including US Bank, will cause to the environment and indigenous people. Resolutions are great, but actions speak louder than words.