The giant bancorporation has just amended its Environmental Responsibility Policy to ban funding oil and gas pipelines.
According to its new guidelines, “The company does not provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines. Relationships with clients in the oil and gas pipeline industries are subject to the Bank’s enhanced due diligence processes.”
And part of the bank’s enhanced due diligence will be to consider the projects they fund by their environmental impact on indigenous people.
The additional due diligence focuses on: “Past and present environmental compliance with laws and regulations, internal framework related to environmental risk management, and potential impact on dependent communities and indigenous people.”
Industries or sectors include coal mining, forestry, unconventional oil and gas production, hydraulic fracturing, oil sands, Arctic, Alaska, or offshore oil extraction, metals mining, electric power generation, nuclear, coal and hydroelectric.
The bank says it is not one of 17 banks that have financed DAPL directly, but admits it is part of a group of 26 banks that have funded lines of credit to Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of DAPL, “for general corporate purposes.”
It does not appear as if U.S. Bank will pull out of its current commitment, as it says in its sustainability fact sheet “We are obligated to fulfill our contract with ETF.”
According to an Energy Transfer Partners filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Bank National Association has committed $175 million to a line of credit.
The $450 billion asset bank, based in Minneapolis and the fifth largest bank in the United States, suffered considerable bad publicity when protestors unveiled a giant banner in the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis during a football game on January 1. The stadium is home to the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League.
The 10 foot by 40 foot banner read “U.S. Bank DIVEST #NoDAPL.”
There is at least one more item in the bank’s new environmental responsibility policy that relates to Natives.
Under the forestry section the bank states “We do not finance forestry operations that negatively impact indigenous people and/or dependent communities without the provision of culturally appropriate representation.”
The bank prides itself on its environmental awareness and says “In 2016 alone, through the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., we committed more than $1.5 billion in renewable energy projects throughout the U.S. Those investments helped power more than 300,000 homes and employ more than 22,000 people. In addition, the carbon off-set of these investments is equal to taking more than 445,000 cars off the road or planting about 2 million acres of forest.”