BISMARCK, N.D. -- Opposition to the Dakota Access oil pipeline has persuaded some banks to stop supporting projects that might harm the environment or tread on indigenous rights, but calling the divest movement a success might be a stretch.
It doesn't appear to be hurting the ability of energy companies to get financing and it doesn't seem to concern lenders broadly. Yet pipeline opponents see victory in the fact that they have made financial institutions more aware of indigenous rights -- and they're intent on keeping up the fight on projects such as Keystone XL even after failing to stop the Dakota Access line.
"We aren't ignoring the fact we couldn't stop that pipeline," said Vanessa Green, a campaign director with the DivestInvest initiative. "There's a battle, and then there's a war."
The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois will be fully operational by June 1, a half-year later than planned by Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners. The project was delayed by lawsuits from American Indian tribes who fear it threatens cultural sites and drinking water, and months of protests by tribal members and their supporters. President Donald Trump pushed the project through shortly after taking office.