News Release — Rights and Democracy
November 16, 2016
BURLINGTON, Vermont– This afternoon at noon, a group of Vermonters publicly closed their accounts with TD Bank in protest to the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and other communities who are fighting the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and corporate profit at the expense of people and the planet. At the same time, these community members delivered a letter to TD Bank that outlines the reasoning behind closing their accounts, details TD Bank’s hypocrisy in funding the DAPL as it relates to their corporate mission, and calls on TD Bank to remove both their financial and public support for the project.
TD Bank has provided $365 million to Dakota Access and Sunoco Logistics, threatening the water of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux.
“The DAPL is a violation of indigenous sovereignty and a gross example of environmental injustice. The original path of the pipeline had it crossing a river near Bismarck, yet DAPL decided to reroute due to concerns from Bismarck citizens about the risk to their drinking water. The Standing Rock Sioux deserve the same concern from the DAPL for their water and livelihoods.” — Laura Mistretta
This money funds the completion of the pipeline, and it also pays private security officers who attack peaceful protestors–many of whom are indigenous peoples protecting their sacred lands and water–as well as financing the heavy equipment that desecrates burial sites. TD Bank’s own document entitled “Preserve A Way of Life” claims fidelity to diversity and expresses a commitment to “earn the respect and confidence of Aboriginal peoples”.
These protesting community members uphold that, if nothing else, the DAPL is an expression of prolonged colonialism and blatant disregard for the rights, health and wellbeing of indigenous peoples. In light of the urgency of climate change and the collective need to transition off of a fossil fuel based economy, as well as in dedication to bolster the voices of indigenous peoples across the continent and globally, this group of Vermonters closed their accounts with TD Bank so as to ensure that their money does not contribute, in any way, to the continuation of the ecologically and culturally harmful Dakota Access Pipeline project.
“This is a very straightforward way to make an impact in helping the Standing Rock Sioux and other communities across the globe who are fighting fossil fuel projects. I want to be a conscious consumer and have trust in my bank to do the right thing, and TD Bank simply does not reflect my values” Christina Fornaciari, UVM Student and local activist, said.