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Dakota pipeline protesters to Bellingham: Pull money out of U.S. Bank

Protesters block northbound Interstate 5 at Lakeway Drive in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Bellingham.
Protesters block northbound Interstate 5 at Lakeway Drive in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Bellingham. eabell@bhamherald.com

Opponents of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline want the city to pull its money out of U.S. Bank.

They recently went before the City Council to ask that Bellingham government take its banking business elsewhere.

U.S. Bank has committed to lending up to $175 million to Energy Transfer Partners, a parent company of the pipeline, according to MPR News.

The city of Bellingham keeps between $15 million to $20 million with U.S. Bank for needs that include payroll and accounts payable, officials said.

The City Council hasn’t discussed the request, Councilman Michael Lilliquist said Friday.

Officials are working to put before the council information that explains the city’s banking practices, what its needs are and the process for choosing a bank, according to Brian Heinrich, Bellingham deputy administrator. That could happen Feb. 27.

Earlier this month, Seattle agreed to end its $3 billion relationship with Wells Fargo Bank for lending money to the pipeline project.

The Bellingham #NoDapl Coalition wants the City Council to do the same here.

On Feb. 4, the coalition took its protest to U.S. Bank at Holly and Commercial streets.

On Monday, it went before the Bellingham City Council.

On Feb. 11, about 100 demonstrators blocked the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Lakeway Drive for about an hour in the afternoon. They created the blockade to protest an easement granted Feb. 7 that allowed crews to resume building the last segment of the stalled pipeline project in southern North Dakota.

It caused a 4-mile backup and a rollover crash that injured one person. Authorities are considering whether charges can be filed against protesters.

Protests over the $3.8-billion pipeline’s construction have been going on for months, with the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes fearing a leak from the pipeline could pollute their drinking water.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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