Sierra Club supporters close bank accounts to express opposition toward Dakota Access Pipeline
While some opponents to the Dakota Access Pipeline held signs outside the First Hawaiian Bank Headquarters Thursday afternoon, others like Vicky Holt-Takamine closed their bank accounts.
"I withdrew $100,000 today," said Holt-Takamine, Kumu Hula of Pua Ali'i 'ilima and Executive Director of the Pa'i Foundation.
Holt-Takamine not only cut ties with her bank, she has also flown to North Dakota to protest alongside the Standing Rock Sioux.
"I see that wherever I go, native people and indigenous people are fighting for their rights, for their lands, and for their water," she recalled.
Sierra Club and its partners have withdrawn $700,000 as they closed their accounts at First Hawaiian Bank.
"It's time that banks get with the program and they join us and get off oil," said Jodi Malinoski, Oahu Group Coordinator for Sierra Club.
Malinoski said 80% of the bank's shares are owned by BNP Paribas, and investment bank that funds the pipeline project.
First Hawaiian Bank said in a statement-- "We are respectful of the concerns being expressed. First Hawaiian Bank has no involvement with the Dakota Access Pipeline nor do we support it... As a publicly traded company First Hawaiian has many shareholders and as such, does not control the actions of its shareholders."
"I don't accept that excuse," said Malinoski.
Sierra Club's goal is to get $1 Million out of the bank by the end of the year to show its solidarity with protesters in North Dakota. Despite opposition, supporters of the pipeline say they will do what ever it takes to finish the project.