No DAPL in Medford
March 4, 2017 10:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested in trying to get my current city of residence to divest their funding to the DAPL. Questions below the fold.

- I've been trying to understand how my city's tax dollars could be used to fund the pipeline, but I don't entirely get the connection. How do cities' tax dollars go to something so far out of state? How would I know if we're paying for the pipeline?
- My city is a purple dot in a deep blue state. Our mayor and most of our city council is affiliated with the Democratic Party, but many of our active voters are White and Catholic. This would be an easier thing to get rolling than some of the larger-scale initiatives groups like Wall Of Us have suggested. However, I know many residents would ask "what's in it for me?" What benefits would divesting DAPL have for taxpayers?
posted by pxe2000 to Society & Culture (7 answers total)
Do you know for sure that your city is invested? Do you know how? Is it through their banking practices (choice of bank)? Investments? Pensions?

Could you clarify if you know this information?
posted by Toddles at 11:22 AM on March 4

Most cities have invested pension fund money into 1. the banks providing financing for the pipeline, and/or 2. the companies building the pipeline. Your local comptroller's website should direct you to info on who's managing the city's pension funds (it may be the comptroller's office or a board), and, from there, the pension fund site(s) will likely have info on exactly where pension fund money is invested. It's also possible that a DAPL-funding bank may underwrite your city's bond offerings, may provide the electronic cards for your state's welfare program, might provide banking services for the city itself. There are lots of ways your city might be doing business with the banks - you can uncover most of them by checking with your local comptroller's office (some info might be on their website, other info you may have to call or do a freedom of information request for).

If you want support, is a site run by folks who are connected to the organizers of the successful Seattle divestment campaign, and they can help hook you up to resources and any other local people who may already be organizing around the issue.

I think there's actually not a lot in it for most cities in divesting from DAPL in particular (fossil fuel divestment in general makes more sense), except that it's incredibly good publicity. Long term, you likely want to ask the city to divest from all fossil fuel producers and the banks that provide financing from them to have an impact. There are the obvious environmental arguments, but there's also a financial one - as renewables continue to get cheaper and the true cost of climate change more obvious, fossil fuel investments will most likely decline in value and it would be smart for your city to divest before the prices drop any more than they already have.
posted by snaw at 1:23 PM on March 4

I'm looking at my city's budget and it doesn't list the banks where the money is invested. Would I have to file a FOIA to get this information?
posted by pxe2000 at 2:40 PM on March 4

This looks like the next step for Medford's pension investments:
posted by snaw at 7:47 PM on March 4

Perhaps also consider getting in touch with your city councilor. They might have more knowledge of this or have an aide who would investigate.
posted by Toddles at 8:12 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but my city is cutting ties with Wells Fargo over DAPL:

Santa Monica Moves To End Relationship With Wells Fargo Over Dakota Access Pipeline
posted by Room 641-A at 4:18 AM on March 5

Toddles: I emailed my City Councilor (at 8:30 last night!) and got a prompt answer directing me to the Comptroller and the City Accountant.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:48 AM on March 5

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