Friday 21 February 2020

ING, ABN Amro under renewed pressure over Dakota pipeline

Dutch banks ING and ABN Amro are under renewed pressure about their roles in a controversial pipeline in the US, now president Donald Trump has vowed to press ahead with the project, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.

The construction has prompted violent clashes between the army and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who say construction of the pipeline through northern Dakota could affect its drinking water supply and put communities ‘at risk of contamination by crude oil leaks and spills.’

ING issued an updated statement on Thursday afternoon saying that it has publicly expressed its concerns about the project.

‘We have signed a contract, which is legally impossible to withdraw from,’ the bank said.  ‘What we can do is use our influence wherever possible to bring the process to a satisfactory outcome for all parties involved.

The lenders to the pipeline have commissioned additional research to be conducted by an external independent human rights expert and will continue to monitor developments closely, ING said.

In addition, the bank says it will meet members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in mid February.

Loans

According to fair banking campaign group Eerlijke Bankwijzer, ING has pumped the equivalent of €233m into the project in direct loans while ABN Amro has lent $45m to companies which are involved with the project.

ABN Amro stressed earlier that it is not directly funding the project but has a ‘relationship’ with one of the major investors, Energy Transfer Equity.

‘In line with ABN Amro’s policy for sustainable banking, the bank continuously consults with Energy Transfer Equity on developments regarding the Dakota access pipeline, the bank said.

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