Shouting “Wells Fargo, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side,” more than 200 protesters demonstrated outside the Wells Fargo Bank branch in New Paltz, NY on Saturday, December 3, brandishing posters, banners signs, horns and puppets. It was a show of support for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota by activists from New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, Black Lives Matter, Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines-New York, Students for Standing Rock, Citizen Action, End the New Jim Crow Action Network and more. They were there as part of an international effort declaring December the global month of “No DAPL Action” to demand that Wells Fargo remove its financial support of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
In addition, it was a demonstration against the inhumane treatment of the people on the front lines at Standing Rock. Iris Marie Bloom, an organizer with the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines-New York (CAPPNY), who recently returned from Standing Rock said, “the militarized police have destroyed the sight in one eye of one young Water Protector, blown apart the arm of another, continue to use strip searches and to facilitate the devastation of Standing Rock land. Dakota Access Pipeline is running the show, and Wells Fargo is investing in their project, so Wells Fargo must divest both to protect water and climate, and to protect human rights and sovereignty.”
The similarity of DAPL to a more local pipeline issue — the Pilgrim Pipeline dual-pipeline proposal –was not lost. Sue Rosenberg , speaking for CAPP-NY declared, “We have seen the power of determined, sustained courageous collective action and prayer…and are inspired. Now, right here in the Hudson Valley, we are threatened with pipelines which would carry that very same Bakken Crude oil down the New York State Thruway, the Pilgrim pipelines.”
As the demonstration continued into its third hour, a member of the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition exuded, “The people of New Paltz have taken strong stands against the Pilgrim pipelines and now we are delighted to see over 200 people come out here today. As climate and water protectors, we are deeply opposed to any fracked fossil fuel pipeline being built anywhere!”
Wells Fargo is one of several financiers of the Dakota Access Pipeline, among others such as Citibank, TD Securities, and SunTrust banks, who are being called upon to divest from a project that does not recognize the rights of indigenous Americans, threatens water purity, and supports increased infrastructure for an energy source that is toxic to the planet.