The same day the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would approve the renewed construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline, lawmakers in in Seattle voted unanimously to end the city's business ties with one of the project's major investors, Wells Fargo Bank.
On Tuesday, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution to pull $3 billion dollars worth of city money out of Wells Fargo when its current contract with the company ends next year. Officially designated CB 118905, the bill not only would see the city divest from Wells Fargo over its involvement in the pipeline and other instances of corporate malfeasance, but would prevent Seattle from doing further business with the bank for an additional three years. By passing the resolution, Seattle becomes the first city in the United States to divest its money from Wells Fargo in solidarity with the anti-pipeline movement.
"People say money talks," councilmember Debora Juarez told local alt-weekly The Stranger. "We say, 'No it doesn't: We do.'"
In a statement, Wells Fargo said:
While we are disappointed that the city has decided to end our 18-year relationship, we stand ready to support Seattle with its financial services needs in the future.
In late January, the bank announced it had donated $500,000 to a number of Seattle-area revitalization initiatives.
Speaking at the Tuesday's vote, Standing Rock Sioux tribal member Olivia One Feather told the council that, "you have been a city setting the example to the world and I look to you to do that now."
"When big cities such as this do the right thing," One Feather added, "it sparks hope in the world."
The bill's unanimous passage was reportedly met with cheers of "water is life" and "when we fight, we win" from supporters on hand to witness the historic vote.
"The example that we have set today can be a beacon of hope to activists all around the country seeking to change the economic calculus of corporations who think that investing in the Dakota Access pipeline will be good for their bottom line,” councilmember Kshama Sawant said after Tuesday's vote. “We’re making it bad for their bottom line."
The people of Seattle beg to differ.