On December 2, the Sierra Club organized a rally at Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco, calling on the banking giant to divest from the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and other crude oil pipelines.
More than a hundred activists lined the sidewalk and crowded the entrance to the bank, carrying home-made banners and signs bearing messages like “Stop Banking on Fossil Fuel” and “Keep It in the Ground.”
The rally featured a powerful lineup of speakers who touched on the impacts of fossil fuel investments on indigenous rights, our climate and health, and the role Wells Fargo and other banks have had in predatory lending and funding private prisons.
At the end of the rally, Ben Cushing of the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels campaign delivered a box containing 150,000+ letters to a Wells Fargo representative who accepted the box graciously and thanked the activists for turning out.
Between 2014 and 2016, Wells Fargo invested at least $5 billion into the coal, oil, and gas industries that are driving the climate crisis. The bank has been a major financier of the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as TransCanada, the oil company behind Keystone XL and the proposed Potomac Pipeline that would endanger Washington, D.C.’s water supply.
Tens of thousands of people across the country have pledged to move their accounts and investments to community banks and local credit unions unless Wells Fargo divests from KXL and other dirty pipelines and reinvests those monies locally.
The day after the San Francisco rally, as Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan testified before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C., local residents gathered outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building, calling on elected officials to hold Wells Fargo accountable for financing projects that threaten community health and the climate.
“We’re making it clear to Wells Fargo that this is just the beginning of out fight to keep dirty fuels in the ground,” Cushing said.