Salt Lake City Pledges to Divest from Chase Bank and Fossil FuelsTweet
April 18, 2017 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Since 2015 Salt Lake City has had an official policy to not invest directly in fossil fuels and 14 months ago it “ recognized in the Joint Resolution Supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline Construction the unique, sovereign relationship between Tribal Nations and the United States and discourages any action regarding the DAPL that would harm or destroy the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites”. Tuesday night the Salt Lake City Council and Mayor Biskupskie reaffirmed those commitments in an historic event for the divestment movement by unanimously passing a “Joint Resolution Advocating for Fossil Fuel Divestment and Ethical Banking Practices To Further our Climate Positive 2040 Commitment. The resolution states that while the intentions of the City are clear “Salt Lake City, and City bids or contracts may be indirectly supporting the fossil fuel industry”.
The Divest Salt Lake Coalition in collaboration with MazaskaTalks.org has been advocating for the last 16 months to divest from Chase Bank and other banks financing harmful projects. This coalition of native sovereignty and climate justice groups make it clear that direct or indirect support for financing of any new fossil fuel extraction project can threaten indigenous sovereignty around the globe as it did most recently at Standing Rock and all of them hasten climate change which is harming human and non-human communities through extreme weather events, droughts and decreased water supply.
Between now and May the City Finance department will evaluate proposals from several banks to contract for the City’s banking services. Ryan Pleune teacher and volunteer organizer with 350.org SLC says “Currently the City contracts with both Zions and Chase Bank and we are urging the City to move our public money away from Chase Bank to a bank with with better ethical standards in regards to human rights and the environment. We also will continue advocating that this resolution lead to a feasibility study for creating a public bank like they have done in the City of Santa Fe New Mexico”.
Carl Moore co-founder and Chairperson of two separate groups PANDOS (Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support) and SLC Air Protectors is grateful for all the organizers as well as the Salt Lake City Council and Mayor. He thanked everyone for responding to “Our display of resilience as Native Americans. This resolution is acknowledgement and further action to defund harmful projects that threaten Native sovereignty and climate justice.The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Sioux Tribes, as sovereign Native nations, were never consulted by the U.S. Government or the current Republican Administration on the approval to fast track construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which further violates the treaty rights of the Lakota, Nakota, Dakota people. Specifically the Dakota Access Pipeline is violating the Ft. Laramie Treaty 1851/1868 and federal laws by conducting an overly narrow review of the project. The resolution passed on Tuesday night acknowledges that indirectly by committing to ethical banking practices and moving away from banks that fund these harmful projects.”
The Divest Salt Lake Coalition asserts that taxpayer money should not be managed by any banks like Chase that finance the violation of indigenous sovereignty, fund climate chaos through fossil fuel projects or infrastructure and lend to companies that segregate our neighborhoods and abuse human rights. Online research has shown that Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and US Bank are implicated in human rights abuses, funding pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure. For example Violation Tracker on GoodJobsFirst.org shows dozens of violations from Chase Bank from 2000-2017 totaling $29.4 Billion on banking, consumer protection, false claims, environmental, wage & hour, unfair labor practice, health, safety, employment discrimination, price-fixing, bribery and other cases initiated by 43 federal regulatory agencies and all divisions of the Justice Department. The Divest Salt Lake Coalition states that the best option with the current SLC banking criteria would be Key Bank but ultimately hopes the city will consider pursuing a public bank.
Ryan Pleune (Local) – 350SLC 801 633-3474
Carl Moore (Hopi Tribal Member – Local) – Co-founder and Chairperson of PANDOS and SLC Air Protectors 801 722-8364
Jackie Fielder (Three Affiliated Tribal Member – National and International) – Co-founder of Mazaska Talks 562 313-2324
Matt Kirkegaard (Local) – U of U Alumni and cofounder of Fossil Free U 801 556-9383
Collin Green (Local) – U of U Alumni campaign leader of Fossi Free U 540 908-8512
National/International: MazaskaTalks.org, 350.org SLC, Wasatch Rising Tide,
Local: PANDOS, Elders Rising, SLC Air Protectors, Utah League of Native American Voters, Green River Action Network,