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  • Indigenous activist protests the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines at the White House in Washington.

    Indigenous activist protests the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines at the White House in Washington. | Photo: Reuters

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The city became the fifth in the U.S. to divest from companies and banks that are involved in the oil project.

San Francisco became the latest U.S. city to divest from companies and banks involved in the Dakota Access pipeline, selling US$1.2 billion in investments as Native American tribes push for a divestment campaign against the controversial oil project.

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The move was approved unanimously Tuesday by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer introduced a resolution calling for divestment from all the banks that have lent money to the Dakota Access.

The resolution states that City Treasurer Jose Cisneros must now add the pipeline to the list of screening factors when making city investment decisions. Fewer’s resolution urges Cisneros to act “with expediency,” the San Francisco CBS Radio reported Tuesday.

“Let’s hope that our action today in passing this resolution adds volume to the voices across the country condemning the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Fewer said.

He added that the resolution would see the city divesting almost 14 percent of the city’s investments, or about US$1.2 billion, that are providing financing to the project.

Back in October, Cisneros said he would consider adding the pipeline to the city’s socially responsible investment matrix, a tool used to screen investment choices.

Efforts to convince banks and lenders to divest from the pipeline have been gaining momentum in recent weeks as three U.S. cities, Seattle, Davis and Santa Monica, have also divested from financial institutions like Wells Fargo who lent money to the Dakota Access pipeline.

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Also in a letter late last month, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Wells Fargo over its funding for the Dakota Access pipeline, saying he has the power to pull the plug on the bank’s contract for operating accounts.

“A handful of millionaires and billionaires in the fossil fuel industry might benefit, but (DAPL) is a disaster for the rest of us,” the mayor warned.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe water protectors and their allies argue that the pipeline is being built on sacred land and could damage their water sources.

The action against the US$3.8-billion pipeline has attracted more than 300 Native American tribes from across the United States in a show of unity and force.

The protests last year also gained international support. Earlier this week, Norway’s largest private investor said it was divesting more than US$30 million from three companies linked to the Dakota Access pipeline.

The news comes as a federal judge rejected a request by two Native American tribes to temporarily suspend the flow of oil in the pipeline as they appeal another ruling rejecting their lawsuit against the pipeline.

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