Protesters demand Wells Fargo defund Dakota Access Pipeline

Posted at 1:31 AM, Dec 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-11 16:07:02-05

Members of the Waco Friends of Peace and Climate stood with signs in front of the Wells Fargo Bank located on Wooded Acres Drive in Waco Saturday afternoon to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

They fear the pipeline will harm the water supply of the tribes living in Standing Rock, North Dakota and impact climate change.

Alan Northcutt said getting the Wells Fargo Corporation to remove its financial support of the pipeline project is important.

“We would like to get that message to the management here at this bank that people in Waco would like to see the Wells Fargo organization withdraw its support of the pipeline,” Northcutt said.

The Waco protest against the building of the Dakota Access pipeline is just one of many across the state. Cody White, a protester who started a Dallas-Fort Worth area community protest group on Facebook, made a plea to people with Wells Fargo bank accounts.

"Honestly as a former customer, I wasn't happy with my plan through this bank," White said. "If you have an account with Wells Fargo. Switch. Go to Compass. Go to a local bank. Go to a credit union. Do something else."

Another man who attended the protest has a more personal connection to the fight against the multi-billion-dollar project. As a Texas Cherokee native, Ron Standing Elk said he’s sent letters of support and money to the Standing Rock Sioux tribes. He wants officials at Wells Fargo to respect the natives and their land.

"You can't drink oil. You can't eat money. Greed is the main that's causing a lot of our problems in this country,” Standing Elk said. “All native people are protectors of the land. We're all brothers and sisters. And when you desecrate our sacred sites and desecrate the land. Then you're hurting the whole world."

Medical professional Alan Northcutt and retired oceanographer Victoria Rectenwald said as scientists, they notice and understand the negative implications the Dakota access pipeline could have on the environment. Northcutt believes educating Central Texans about climate change is most important.

“I think if people understand how much of a disaster this will be if we don't take action, it’ll change people's outlook,” Northcutt said. “If they really listen to the climate scientists, understand the depth of the problem, then they will adjust their behavior."

For more information about the Waco Friends of Peace/Climate, visit their website.

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved.