An open letter to the Equator Principles Association on the Dakota Access pipeline

(Bank Track, Nijmegen, 30 November 2016) Members of Banktrack wrote to the Chair of the Equator Principles Association earlier this month, to urge the Association at its upcoming Annual Meeting to address two distinct and important issues: Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) must take long overdue, concrete steps to strengthen their climate commitments; and Banktrack's deep concern about the involvement of a substantial number of EPFIs in the financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). ECA Watch considers this an important issue, as many ECAs work closely together in underwriting investments of private banks in the fossil fuel sector. The portfolios of some ECAs consist of more than 50% underwriting for fossil fuel related transactions. To effectively contribute to stopping climate change from going from bad to worse, ECAs urgently need to change track. DNB, Norway's largest bank, has sold off about $3 million in assets, but its banking division is still responsible for offering the Bakken pipeline companies up to $460 million dollars in credit, over 10 percent of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline construction costs. The New York Times reported on November 8 that in their battles with the banks, environmentalists have scored some early victories. Earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase announced that it would no longer finance new coal-fired power plants in the United States or other wealthy nations, a retreat that followed similar announcements by Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. The banks’ move away from coal, however, appeared motivated as much by the plunging profitability of coal as by concerns over climate change. Another Banktrack letter signed by over 400 organizations from more than 50 countries, including many members of ECA Watch, has just gone out to a broader set of banks expressing deep concern about their participation in a $2.5 billion credit agreement led by Citibank with Dakota Access LLC and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company LLC.