Who Is Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline? Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo

We continue our conversation Food & Water Watch’s Hugh MacMillan about his new investigation that reveals the dozens of financial institutions that are bankrolling the Dakota Access pipeline, including Bank of America, HSBC,UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. “They are banking on this company and banking on being able to drill and frack for the oil to send through the pipeline over the coming decades,” MacMillan says. “So they’re providing the capital for the construction of this pipeline.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Juan, in a moment we’re going to be talking about the Attica prison uprising, but right now we’re going to be looking at the banks and who is funding the $3.8 billion pipeline, the Dakota Access pipeline.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, we’ll continue to—on Wednesday in Minneapolis—what we want to do is continue to cover the coverage of the standoff at Standing Rock over the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline with a look at who is profiting off of it. On Wednesday in Minneapolis, dozens protested at U.S. Bank Plaza, demanding U.S. Bank stop funding the pipeline. According to aninvestigation published by LittleSis, U.S. Bank has extended a $175 million credit line to Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline.

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, Saturday was the first day of a two-week call for actions against the financial institutions that are bankrolling the Dakota Access pipeline project.

We turn to Part 2 of our conversation with Hugh MacMillan, a senior researcher with Food & Water Watch whose new investigation reveals the dozens of financial institutions that are bankrolling what’s called DAPL, the Dakota Access pipeline. I began by asking Hugh what’s most important to understand about the corporate structure of the pipeline company.

HUGH MACMILLAN: Dakota Access, LLC, is a joint venture of Phillips 66 and a joint venture of two members of the Energy Transfer family—Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics. Enbridge and Marathon Oil have bought into this, this joint venture. Together, they now have about a 37 percent stake in the pipeline, in the Dakota Access pipeline.

AMY GOODMAN: How are the banks involved?

HUGH MACMILLAN: Well, that’s—they are banking on this company and banking on being able to drill and frack for the oil to send through the pipeline over the coming decades. So they’re providing the capital for the construction of this pipeline.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what the banks are. Which banks are they? And how are they involved?

HUGH MACMILLAN: Well, I’ve got a list of the 17 banks that are specifically providing financing for this project. And it’s also coupled together with a Energy Transfer—Energy Transfer Partner project to convert an existing pipeline that would connect to the south end of the Dakota Access pipeline and run oil all the way down to the Gulf Coast, where there are refineries and also export infrastructure.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us that list of 17 banks?

HUGH MACMILLAN: I can. Citibank is the bank that’s been running the books on the project, and that’s the bank that beat the bushes and got other banks to join in. So, we have Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Mizuho Bank, TD Securities, ABN AMRO Capital, DNB First Bank—and that’s actually a bank based in Philly; it’s not the DNB Bank based in Norway, which is actually provided several hundred million to the Energy Transfer family separately—and ICBC London, SMBC Nikko Securities and Société Générale.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, it’s Citibank—is that right?—that’s running the books, as the report points out, for Energy Transfer and Sunoco Logistics, which own the Dakota Access pipeline?

HUGH MACMILLAN: That’s right, by and large. So they have the largest share, and they’ve spearheaded the effort. So, what we published in LittleSis was the 30-plus banks that have provided general financing for Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners. Through working with Rainforest Action Network, we were able to—who has access to Bloomberg Terminal, we were able to determine these 17 banks that I just listed, who are providing the direct financing for the Dakota Access project and, in addition, for an Energy Transfer Partners project to extend this pipeline on down to Texas. So, collectively, this pipeline would run from near the Canadian border on down to the Gulf Coast of Texas over 1,800 miles.

AMY GOODMAN: I was just talking to an oil trucker in the plane back from North Dakota, and he trucks from the Bakken fields to other areas of North Dakota, just locally. And he said it is stunning to see the drop in demand for oil just in this past year. He has been trucking for four years. What about this decline in demand and what this will mean?

HUGH MACMILLAN: Well, you know, if you ask Morgan Stanley, they said a year ago that the oil producers are getting into prison shape—and without irony. So, you know, this is a long-term—these are long-term investments from the banks. There’s fully the—they fully expect the United States to maximize its production of oil and gas through widespread fracking.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “prison shape”?

HUGH MACMILLAN: Well, I have a note here. They explain that “Some prisoners”—and I quote—”contrive clever equipment in workouts that result in fitness levels that surpass the traditional gym shape.” And so they’re speaking in—they’re drawing an analogy to prisoners getting in good shape, drawing an analogy from that to oil and gas companies, fracking companies, learning how to do things more cheaply and more efficiently.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Hugh MacMillan, as we wrap up, what do you think is most important for people to understand about the corporate structure of the company, Dakota Access pipeline, that is building the Dakota Access pipeline?

HUGH MACMILLAN: Well, I think it’s important to see the forces behind this particular pipeline as the same forces behind numerous other pipelines across the country, both for—both to support fracking for tight oil as well as fracking for shale gas, all toward maximizing production of oil and gas, when the science is clear that we need to maximize what we keep in the ground. Our current policy has not made that switch. And if you look at the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Technology Review published a year ago, you’ll see, under clean energy technologies, permeability manipulation is included, along with improved understanding of well integrity and improved understanding of injections and how they’re causing earthquakes, such as occurred over the weekend. The Quadrennial—

AMY GOODMAN: In Oklahoma.

HUGH MACMILLAN: That’s right, in Oklahoma. The Quadrennial Technology Review speaks of a future mastery of the subsurface toward maximizing production.

AMY GOODMAN: Hugh MacMillan, senior researcher with Food & Water Watch. His newinvestigation reveals the dozens of financial institutions that are bankrolling the Dakota Access pipeline. We’ll link to it at This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.


The Fight Over the Dakota Access Pipeline Could Be the Next Keystone

Indigenous activists say the pipeline highlights a broader environmental threat to their communities
A growing group of indigenous people, climate activists and landowners have been protesting a 1,200-mile oil pipeline crossing North Dakota en route to the Gulf Coast since the project was first announced in 2014. But it was only this week, two years later, that the Dakota Access Pipeline bursted into the public consciousness as thousands of protesters gathered at the site and the Obama administration stepped in to halt construction.

Now, some environmental activists believe the Dakota Access Pipeline could be the next Keystone, a high-profile test battle in the longer term mission of activists to keep fossil fuels in the ground. And, while the Dakota pipeline protests feature the usual cast of environmental activists, the movement has captured attention in part because of the efforts of the indigenous people who say their own rights have been threatened.

“Tribal leaders and indigenous leaders have been talking about the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground for a long time,” says Lena Mofitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels campaign. “It’s a natural partnership.”
The central issue for the Standing Rock Sioux, a tribe located less than a mile from the proposed pipeline, has been the threat it could pose to the local water supply. The pipeline would cross under a dammed section of the Missouri River that serves as a source of water for the tribe, and tribal leaders worry about the effects of an accident or spill. The project would also destroy a burial ground, they say.

But the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux represent just the tip of the complaints that have galvanized the thousands of activists, many of whom are indigenous people, who have shown up to protest. Indigenous activists from across the country say their communities are all too familiar with large infrastructure projects that wreak environmental havoc in their backyards without their approval. The Dakota Access Pipeline is an opportunity to bring attention to the broader issues facing their communities.

Beyond that, protestors say they are concerned about the contribution of the pipeline—and the oil it would soon carry—to man-made climate change. Many indigenous communities will be the first to experience the devastations of climate change, while doing little contribute to the problem.

“Indigenous people—we seem to have a solid sense of what sustainable stewardship looks like,” says Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, speaking after a rally in Bismarck, N.D. “The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline is just the natural evolution of the climate justice movement.”

Read More: How a Little-Known Federal Agency Has Slowed New Oil and Gas Drilling

What seemed likely to be a futile effort just a few months ago gained significant traction on Friday as the Department of Justice, the U.S. Army and the Department of the Interior ordered a halt to construction while officials reconsider the approval process. The move by the government came immediately after a federal judge had denied the Standing Rock Sioux’s to temporarily block construction of the pipeline. The government statement also acknowledged the top activist concerns and called for consideration of “nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views” for future projects.

The recognition that the government may not have adequately taken tribes’ considerations into account is a significant achievement, but the decision by the Obama administration is far from definitive. In the meantime, the activists on the ground say they have no plans to move.

“We are in this for the long run,” says Goldtooth, “whether it’s snow, rain or hail.”


Government Steps In After Judge Denies Tribe’s Request to Stop Pipeline


A federal judge denied a Native American tribe’s request to temporarily block construction of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline, which has sparked heated protests. But the U.S. Justice Departmentresponded to the ruling by announcing steps to protect — for now — a lake along the construction route.

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., decided that there is not enough evidence to support the argument that building the pipeline would harm the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which sued to stop the pipeline’s construction.

Boasberg’s ruling showed sympathy for the tribe’s history but disagreed with the lawsuit’s contention that the Army Corps of Engineers erred in its granting permits for the pipeline.

“Aware of the indignities visited upon the tribe over the last centuries, the court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care,” Boasberg wrote. “Having done so, the court must nonetheless conclude that the tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.” A status conference for the case is scheduled for Sept. 16.

The Departments of Justice, the Interior and the Army weighed in immediately after the ruling’s release with an announcement that the Corps will at least temporarily halt authorization for construction of the pipeline around Lake Oahe while it reviews its decisions regarding the large reservoir. The government requested that Dakota Access, the Texas-based company building the pipeline, voluntarily pause construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe.

The federal government also announced that the case highlights the need to consider “nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

A representative for Dakota Access declined requests for comment on the ruling and the government’s announcement.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe welcomed the government’s announcement, calling it a “game changer.”

“The federal court ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe today, but in a stunning move, three federal agencies have blocked the pipeline at Lake Oahe, pending a thorough review and reconsideration of the process,” the tribe said in a statement on its Facebook page

“This federal statement is a game changer for the tribe, and we are acting immediately on our legal options, including filing an appeal and a temporary injunction to force [Dakota Access] to stop construction,” the statement continued.

Lake Oahe is environmentally and culturally important to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the pipeline would cross under the lake, which is just upstream from the tribe’s reservation, according to the tribe’s complaint in the lawsuit.

“The tribe relies on the waters of Lake Oahe for drinking water, irrigation, fishing and recreation and to carry out cultural and religious practices. The public water supply for the tribe, which provides drinking water for thousands of people, is located a few miles downstream of the proposed pipeline crossing route.”

“Additionally, the cultural and religious significance of these waters cannot be overstated,” the tribe states in its court complaint. “Construction of the pipeline … and building and burying the pipeline would destroy burial grounds, sacred sites and historically significant areas on either side of Lake Oahe,” the complaint states.

The planned 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline will run from North Dakota and South Dakota into Iowa and Illinois.

The tribe argues in its lawsuit that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately consult it before granting permits that allowed construction of the pipeline, which began earlier this summer about a half-mile north of the tribe’s reservation in North Dakota.

The pipeline company and the Corps argue in court documents that they followed a standard review process.

Conflict over the pipeline escalated last weekend when private security workers for Dakota Access and protesters against the project clashed at a North Dakota construction site.

Before the announcement of the ruling, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II said that no matter the outcome, opponents of the pipeline should remain peaceful.

PHOTO: A line of protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota head to a unity rally on the west steps of the State Capitol, Sept. 8, 2016, in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP Photo
A line of protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota head to a unity rally on the west steps of the State Capitol, Sept. 8, 2016, in Denver.more +

“We call upon all water protectors to greet any decision with peace and order. Even if the outcome of the court’s ruling is not in our favor, we will continue to explore every lawful option and fight against the construction of the pipeline,” Archambault said.

“Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here,” he said.

In anticipation of possible protests after the ruling, North Dakota’s governor called on the state’s National Guard to help law enforcement, it said in a statement today.

“Personnel from the North Dakota National Guard have been called upon by the governor to support law enforcement and augment public safety efforts, in light of recent activity with the Dakota Access pipeline protest,” the statement said. “The guard members will serve in administrative capacities and assist in providing security at traffic information points. The guardsmen will not be going to the actual protest site.”

Dakota Access says on its website that it expects the pipeline to transport about 470,000 barrels of crude oil every day from production areas in North Dakota’s Bakken and Three Forks production areas through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois, as well as create thousands of construction jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for those states.

PHOTO: Doug Goodfeather, of the Lakota Way Healing Center, addresses the public as hundreds of Native Americans and allies converged on the Colorado State Capitol, resists the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Sept. 8. 2016, in Denver.
Graham Charles Hunt/Splash News
Doug Goodfeather, of the Lakota Way Healing Center, addresses the public as hundreds of Native Americans and allies converged on the Colorado State Capitol, resists the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Sept. 8. 2016, in Denver.


What you need to know about – the Dakota Access Pipeline‎


Standing Rock Litigation


On the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit.

What happened on Friday, Sept. 9?

The decision by the federal agencies to halt any additional permitting and reconsider its past permits is a game-changer.
While the Court preliminarily rejected our legal claims, the government heard the Tribe’s call that the process was unfair. It will not issue additional permits needed to cross under the Missouri River, will review the permits it already granted, and urges the pipeline to stand down on any construction within 20 miles of the Missouri. Even more significantly, it recognized that the administration will revisit the whole way in which the government interacts with Indian Tribes on major projects like this one, as we have long advocated.
The decision gives everyone a much-needed “time out” at Lake Oahe and an opportunity to rethink both this pipeline and the broader way in which we approach such projects. While the legal fight will surely continue for now, the Administration has opened the door for genuine problem solving.
“Our hearts are full, on this historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation,” said David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Native peoples have suffered generations of broken promises and today the federal government said that national reform is needed to better ensure that tribes have a voice on infrastructure projects like this pipeline.”

Where can I find statements from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe?

Please check the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Facebook page for regular statements and updates.
“I want to take a moment and reflect on this historic moment in Indian Country,” said David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in a press release issued by the Tribe on Friday. “But I know that our work is not done. We need to permanently protect our sacred sites and our water. There are areas on the construction route that do not fall within federal jurisdiction, so we will continue to fight.”
In advance of Friday’s court decision, the Tribe had issued several statements:

The Standing Rock Reservation’s Fight Against Big Oil

On this episode of Daily VICE, we meet up with artist Ben Dupree at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota to talk about why the Sioux tribe is defending itself against an oil pipeline that’s planned to be built through its land.

Watch Daily VICE in the VICE channel on go90. Head to to learn more and download the app.


Arrest warrant issued for journalist Amy Goodman after pipeline protest coverage

Amy Goodman, the host of news program Democracy Now!, is reportedly facing criminal trespassing charges in Morton County, North Dakota after covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

According to WDAZ, an arrest warrant has now been issued for the journalist. “This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” Goodman said in a statement posted on the Democracy Now! website. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”

The controversial project has sparked intense and growing protests, particularly from the Native American community led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who argue it will disturb sacred sites and put the environment at risk.

On Sept. 3, Goodman and her crew recorded footage of a clash between security guards at the pipeline and protestors. The guards appeared to use pepper spray against protestors before being forced to retreat. One man showed what he said was a bite from a dog on his arm, and one dog had blood on its nose and mouth.

Tribal officials said workers bulldozed sacred sites on private land one week ago, but Energy Transfer Partners denied the claims. A tribal spokesman said six people were bitten by dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed. Four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured, according to officials.

An arrest warrant was also issued Wednesday in Morton County for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. She is accused of spray-painting construction equipment during a protest and is charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

Stein stood by her actions. “This would be another deadly blow to a climate teetering on the brink. It cannot be allowed to go forward,” she said in a statement.

If completed, Energy Transfer Partners’s $3.8 billion-project will cross four states and carry 570,000 barrels of light crude oil per day. The pipeline is planned to run under the Missouri River, not far from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

On Friday, the federal government ordered a work stoppage on one section of the project in North Dakota. The decision came after a judge refused the Standing Rock Sioux’s request that construction be halted.

The tribe claimed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had failed to adequately protect water supplies and sites of cultural significance, but U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denied the request for a temporary injunction.

Three federal agencies requested the pipeline’s builder implement a “voluntarily pause” around Lake Oahe.

“This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects,” the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior said in a joint statement. “We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. ”

“A public policy win is a lot stronger than a judicial win,” Dave Archambault II, tribe chairman, said at the time. “Our message is heard.”

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) confront bulldozers working on the new oil pipeline in an effort to make them stop on September 3, 2016, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) confront bulldozers working on the new oil pipeline in an effort to make them stop on September 3, 2016, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Read article on Mashable

Letter to Obama

Dear President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama,


It has been two years already since I met you during your visit to Standing Rock. When you were here, you sat and listened to what we had to say. You made us feel like we mattered, we didn’t feel invisible anymore.  

I am writing this letter to you because I am concerned about the wellbeing of my people. The Army Corps of Engineers just issued a construction permit allowing Dakota Access LLC to build a massive pipeline through our Missouri River. This pipeline will transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil through our water every day. In 2012-2013 alone, there were 300 oil pipeline breaks in the state of North Dakota. When the Dakota Access Pipeline breaks, it will not only contaminate our water but it will also destroy our sacred land and threaten our individual, societal and community’s health.

A few months ago, the youth from my Tribe started speaking out against the Dakota Access Pipeline. We created a petition to raise awareness about the potential damages this pipeline could do to our people, and our Rezpect Our Water campaign now has over One Hundred and Forty Thousand (140,000) supporters, both across the country and around the world.  Our campaign has been successful. Sadly,  it was not enough to dissuade the Army Corps of Engineers from issuing the construction permit.

Throughout history, our people have used messenger runners to deliver valuable information between tribes. In the spirit of our ancestors we have started a Relay Race to bring our message to Washington DC. Thirty of us, from the Oceti Sakowin Youth (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), will be running almost 2000 miles over three weeks to raise further awareness about the pipeline and to deliver our 140,000 petition signatures to the headquarter of the Army Corps of Engineers. Our final stop will be at your doorstep, Mr. President. We hope you can join us and listen to what we have to say.

As the native children of this country, we are asking you to stand with us on August 6, 2016 at Lafayette Square and help us fight the Dakota Access Pipeline. Enough has been taken away from our people. We want to thrive and we want a bright future. One that embraces our cultural heritage and our deep communion with our lands. By helping us fight for our water and for our ancestral lands, you confirm our common humanity and dignity. This is what we ask for.  

After your visit to Standing Rock you said you felt we were like your own children.  Mr. President and First Lady we have no doubt you meant every word you said and we know you have not forgotten us. We hope that your schedule allows you to greet us and show your support upon our arrival in Washington DC.


Thank you very much,

Tariq and the Oceti Sakowin Youth

Tariq Brown Otter.00_17_07_00.Still009

Hollywood Stars Speak Out on Dakota Access Pipeline

By: Megan Mitchell

Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline is gaining national attention.

Monday night, Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted and Instagramed to followers: “3 million gallons of oil are spilled in the USA annually. No #DakotaAccess.”

The Oscar winning actor urged fans to learn more and take action.

In seven days, over 60,000 people have signed the petition on

Last week, stars of the upcoming Justice League film posted videos and photos to their social media accounts in support of the Standing Rock Reservation as well.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is proposed be the largest capacity pipeline to date and go underneath the community’s main water source. Residents are afraid their drinking water will be contaminated.

Tribal leaders say federal laws and treaties were bypassed in the planning process requiring direct discussion with the tribe. They also say the environmental assessment of the site was done by the same company building the pipeline and makes no mention of a Native American community living in the area.

Energy Transfer Partners is constructing the pipeline. They maintain they are compliant with regulations and tribal coordination.

The Army Corps of Engineers is set to make a decision on the final permit of the pipeline this month.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Stands With Great Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline


The campaign to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) continues to gain steam with Leonardo DiCaprio and actors from the upcoming Justice League film joining the cause.

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Dakota Access—a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP—has proposed a $3.7 billion, 1,168-mile pipeline that will transfer up to 570,00 barrels of crude oil per day from theNorth Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.

The DAPL, also referred to as the Bakken pipeline, would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation that stands in North and South Dakota. The Missouri River, one of the largest water resources in the U.S., provides drinking water for millions of people.

The people of Standing Rock, often called Sioux, warn that a potential oil spill into the river would threaten the water, land and health of their reservation.

In DiCaprio’s tweet, the Oscar-winning actor and clean energy advocate said he was “standing with the Great Sioux Nation to protect their water and lands,” and linked to a petition that urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The petition was written by 13-year-old Anna Lee Rain YellowHammer on behalf of Standing Rock youth. It states:

A private oil company wants to build a pipeline that would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation and if we don’t stop it, it will poison our river and threaten the health of my community when it leaks.

My friends and I have played in the river since we were little; my great grandparents raised chickens and horses along it. When the pipeline leaks, it will wipe out plants and animals, ruin our drinking water and poison the center of community life for the Standing Rock Sioux.

The petition has been signed by nearly 46,000 supporters, just short of 4,000 signatures to reach the 50,000 goal.

DiCaprio’s tweet also hash-tagged #KeepItInTheGround, which calls for keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

According to Dakota Access, their proposed route which will travel through 50 counties in four states “was carefully designed to transport crude in the safest, most efficient way possible.”

However, for the past several months, native American communities and landowners have been battling the construction of the DAPL.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 6.11.42 PMMapMap

“Oil companies keep telling us that this is perfectly safe, but we’ve learned that that’s a lie: from 2012-2013 alone, there were 300 oil pipeline breaks in the state of North Dakota,” YellowHammer wrote in her petition. “With such a high chance that this pipeline will leak, I can only guess that the oil industry keeps pushing for it because they don’t care about our health and safety. It’s like they think our lives are more expendable than others.”

Army Corps is currently considering permits to construct and operate the DAPL. They will reportedly make the decision in days, thus prompting renewed urgency from opponents to stop the project.

Alongside DiCaprio, many famous faces have joined the cause. Three stars from the newJustice League film—Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher—have posted social media messages to protest the pipeline, as Indian Country reported.

In his Instagram photo, Momoa holds a sign that states he has signed the petition and that “oil pipelines are a bad idea.”

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“We want to say that our hearts are with the Native youth of the Standing Rock Reservation, and that we oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Miller says in the video.

Fisher also urged viewers to visit the website Rezpect our Water, which has been launched against the pipeline.

A recent a 500-mile relay, Run For Your Life: No DAPL, was organized in opposition of the project. The run, which started April 28 from Cannon Ball, North Dakota ended at the Army Corps Omaha District office in Nebraska on May 3.

“I am doing Run For Your Life: No DAPL because I want the younger generations to know what they are looking forward to in the future if this pipeline comes through,” lead run coordinator and Standing Rock member said. “I am running for the whole Oceti Sakowin. I am carrying all their prayers on the road with us. Water is essential to everyday life. Why hasn’t someone even given a thought about the 3 to 4 million people who use our Missouri River water? It is 2016, and here we are fighting our battles, running across the state of South Dakota to show our statement.”

The runners delivered a unified statement to Colonel John Henderson and the Army Corps in resistance to the oil pipeline.

The letter, which you can read in full here, states:

We write to you as the peoples of this great land, both Native and non-Native, who rely on the Missouri River and our ecosystems for our livelihoods, our communities, and our futures. For a long time, man has behaved as though he has absolute dominion over nature, and now we are beginning to see the effects of what this attitude has done to our world. As global concerns about environmental issues continue to rise, we too are taking a stand out of concern not only for ourselves, but also for the non-human animals in our communities and for the children who shall become a part of nature after we have passed.

They group also issued a number of demands that the Army Corps must take before issuing a permit to Dakota Access:

  • Conduct a full EIS [environmental impact assessment] to determine potential environmental effects of the DAPL.
  • Address additional concerns regarding environmental justice and emergency response actions to spills/leaks.
  • Address the potential impact to cultural/historical sites, including native burial grounds.
  • Address the lack of communication with tribes over the past several months, and remedy this by properly consulting and coordinating with affected tribes.
  • Apply President Barack Obama’s climate test and determine whether this project serves the national interest by not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.

“If Dakota Access fails to meet the conditions of any one of these enacted recommendations it stands as a clear indication that it is not a safe and sound project deserving of permitting,” the letter concludes.

Ed Fallon, director of the nonprofit Bold Iowa and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Iowa, met the runners in Omaha. He delivered a speech that touched on how some farmers and landowners felt no choice but to sign their land away for construction of the Bakken pipeline.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Eileen Williamson said the Corps is evaluating the environmental impacts that take place during construction.

“For example, if threatened and endangered species is a concern. Let’s say that a proposed crossing and construction schedule could impact nesting of a protected bird,” Williamson toldSouth Dakota public radio. “Then a recommendation would be to ensure that the construction schedule is outside of that nesting period, and that the construction does not affect the habitat that that bird would use for nesting.”

Williamson said officials must work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state Historic Preservation Officer and Tribal governments. She says the Corps is also reviewing public comments.

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Oil Bust Gives Billionaire Deal-Maker Buyer’s Remorse


Energy Transfer Equity’s Kelcy Warren wants to restructure or escape the biggest deal of his life, but seller Williams Cos. won’t let go.

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Kelcy Warren, chairman of Energy Transfer Equity. In September, the Dallas company announced a $33 billion takeover agreement with Williams Cos., but Mr. Warren has since overseen a series of moves that could torpedo the deal. PHOTO: MATTHEW MAHON


Kelcy Warren became a billionaire oil man by making deal after deal, including purchases of thousands of miles of pipelines after Enron Corp. collapsed. Now he is suffering from a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

As low oil prices spread pain throughout the energy industry, Energy Transfer Equity LP, the Dallas company where Mr. Warren is chairman, is scrambling to restructure or escape a $33 billion agreement announced just seven months ago to acquire WilliamsCos., based in Tulsa, Okla. The deal would create a 100,000-mile network of pipelines.

Mr. Warren, 60 years old, has overseen a series of moves that could torpedo the biggest acquisition of his life, such as an unusual convertible preferred share issue that would dilute Williams shareholders and increase his own stake in the combined company.

When Williams Chairman Frank MacInnis called in February to complain, Mr. Warren responded curtly, according to Mr. MacInnis. “No one was going to tell him how to run his company,” Mr. MacInnis said in the unredacted version of a court filing reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The comment is crossed out of a publicly available copy of the filing.

Energy Transfer disputes the comment but says the two men have talked a number of times about what would be in the best interest of shareholders. The company says Mr. Warren isn’t trying to kill the deal but is emphatic that it needs to be restructured.

The deal, one of the largest announced in 2015, is now in danger of becoming one of the highest-profile corporate casualties of the oil bust. After Messrs. Warren and MacInnis announced the agreement on Sept. 28, oil prices fell about 40%, though they have since rebounded. The share prices of both companies are still down by roughly half. The tumult also cost Energy Transfer’s chief financial officer his job.

The mess shows how vulnerable many deals are to souring financial markets. Deals touted as mutually beneficial when announced can quickly turn better for one side than the other. The same thing happened when credit dried up in the financial crisis and droves of buyers scrambled to get out of deals.

So far this year, about $378 billion in U.S. mergers and acquisitions have been abandoned, more than 40% higher than in all of 2015, according to Dealogic. This year’s broken-deal total will be a record even if no more deals fall apart.

Recent examples include Pfizer Inc.’s proposed $150 billion takeoverof fellow drugmaker Allergan PLC and the $35 billion merger of oil-field services companies Halliburton Inc. and Baker Hughes Inc.,which crumbled under pressure from U.S. regulators. Honeywell International Inc. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. walked away from reluctant takeover targets.

Williams has filed lawsuits against Energy Transfer and Mr. Warren over the share issuance, alleging that it cheats Williams shareholders.

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After initially resisting the deal, Williams now is considering asking a judge to force Energy Transfer to complete the takeover, say people familiar with the matter. Williams says a failed deal would cost its shareholders $10 billion in lost value.

Mr. Warren has long kept a tight grip on his sprawling pipeline empire, launched two decades ago. In addition to Energy Transfer, he essentially controls three other publicly traded companies stitched together so complicatedly that some analysts decline to follow them, they say.

He also is one of the country’s richest men, with a net worth estimated at $7 billion by Forbes. Mr. Warren owns a private island in Honduras and an 8,000-acre property near Cherokee, Texas, that was once an exotic-animal ranch and is still home to roving zebras and buffalo.

His 23,000-square-foot Dallas mansion, bought for $30 million in 2009, includes a bowling alley and a baseball diamond that features a scoreboard with “Warren” as one of the teams.

He is an avid music fan and owns an independent recording studio that produced in 2014 a Jackson Browne tribute album with cover songs by musicians such as Bonnie Raitt and Don Henley.

Mr. Warren has boasted of seeing opportunity in downturns. He launched Energy Transfer in the wake of Enron’s demise and then expanded.

In 2012, another company he runs, Energy Transfer Partners, agreed to buy Sunoco Inc. for $5.3 billion while Sunoco was in the middle of a complex restructuring. The $5.7 billion takeover of pipeline company Southern Union Co., also in 2012, came after a hostile bidding war.

In 2013, he hired Jamie Welch, a longtime energy investment banker at Credit Suisse Group AG who shared Mr. Warren’s hearty appetite for deals.

The two men saw an opening in the oil rout that started in 2014, which Mr. Welch described as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

During a brief uptick in oil prices early last year, Mr. Warren told analysts: “This is going to sound odd to you, almost sadistic, but I was disappointed to see a rebound in crude prices…I was excited to see who might be more vulnerable if we saw this market continue a downward trend.”

Energy Transfer set its sights on Williams and its crown jewel: the 10,000-mile Transco gas pipeline. But Williams stiff-armed Energy Transfer for months, according to securities filings.

When Energy Transfer made an all-stock offer in June then valued at $48 billion, Williams rejected it as too cheap and plowed ahead with plans to absorb an affiliate.

By the fall, Williams’s outlook had worsened. In addition to sapping pipeline demand, oil’s slide had hurt Williams’s gas-processing business, which is especially vulnerable to price swings. A big customer, Chesapeake Energy Corp., looked increasingly troubled, too.

At a meeting of Williams’s board of directors in Tulsa in September, the company’s advisers said investors were losing patience, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Hopes briefly flickered for a white-knight transaction with Warren Buffett-backed MidAmerican Energy Co., which expressed last-minute interest, but talks went nowhere, some of the people say.

Energy Transfer kept pushing for a deal, but the Williams board was divided seven to six against it. With tensions running high, the group took a break for dinner. Unable to find a private dining room big enough to accommodate them, they split into two groups, one “for” and the other “against,” people familiar with the matter say.

When the meeting reconvened in the morning, two directors had changed their minds. The deal was approved by an 8-5 vote.

Energy Transfer shareholders, who had bid up the stock price when the offer first surfaced, were unimpressed with the details of the takeover announcement. Energy Transfer shares fell 13% in one day.

Early signs that regret was setting in came when Mr. Welch, Energy Transfer’s finance chief, painted the deal unfavorably in conversations with some Williams shareholders in January.

He even suggested that they consider voting against it if they weren’t able to persuade Williams’s board of directors to revise the deal’s terms, these people say.

The merger contract is written with unusually tight provisions on how Energy Transfer can get out of the deal. Williams shareholders can vote it down.

Word of Mr. Welch’s efforts, which were earlier reported by the New York Times, filtered back to Williams. Integration meetings were postponed and progress slowed, people familiar with the matter say.

Energy Transfer’s public statements about the deal got noticeably cooler. In March, the company slashed its estimate of annual cost savings at the combined companies by more than 90%, said it would suspend cash distributions for at least two years and warned that a credit-rating downgrade was possible because of the combined companies’ heavy debt load.

Energy Transfer also backed away from its promise to keep a major presence in Williams’s hometown of Tulsa after the deal is completed.

Last month, Energy Transfer said its lawyers couldn’t guarantee the transaction would be tax-free to Williams investors, a condition of the merger’s completion. Williams disputes Energy Transfer’s legal position and says it is an attempt by Energy Transfer to wriggle out of the deal.

On an earnings call last week, Mr. Warren was dour about the takeover. “Absent a substantial restructuring of this transaction, which Energy Transfer has been very willing and actually desiring to do—absent that, we don’t have a deal,” he said. Mr. Warren declined to comment for this article.

One big sticking point is the $6 billion cash portion of the deal, or $8 a share. Energy Transfer and some analysts are worried that the cash payout would saddle the combined company with too much debt.

“Kelcy is firing every bullet he has,” says Benjamin Michaud, an analyst at asset manager H.M. Payson & Co., which owns $10 million of Williams shares and supports the takeover. “But from the standpoint of a Williams shareholder, $8 [a share] is very significant.”

Some Williams shareholders say there is so much acrimony between the two companies that it is hard to imagine them getting along if the deal goes through. “There’s got to be a lot of bad feelings on both sides of the aisle,” says Jay Rhame, a portfolio manager at Reaves Asset Management.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. says that he sees nothing good about the proposed takeover and that he recently told Mr. MacInnis that in a meeting in New York. Mr. MacInnis declined to comment for this article.

The biggest flashpoint is the convertible-share issuance. In March, Energy Transfer insiders, including Mr. Warren, President John McReynolds and two directors, swapped their existing shares for special units, which would forgo cash distributions over the next nine quarters.

Those units are convertible into regular shares at a discount to the market price, giving their holders a bigger stake than they started with.

Energy Transfer has said the move would save $518 million to help pay down debt. The company says it wanted to offer the shares to all its investors, but Williams withheld its consent. Williams says it opposed the move because it would hurt Williams shareholders.

In April, Energy Transfer said it intended to suspend cash distributions after the merger, meaning the insiders will have given up nothing but still stand to receive more equity when the units are converted in 2018.

People familiar with the matter say Mr. Welch disagreed about how far Energy Transfer could go to try to get out of the takeover and balked at the convertible-share issuance. The finance chief told Mr. Warren the share issuance would damage Energy Transfer’s reputation on Wall Street. He also told his boss that he wouldn’t publicly defend the move, these people say.

That was the last straw in a relationship that already had become troubled. The cash portion of the deal terms was Mr. Welch’s idea, according to people familiar with the matter. He had argued that by including more cash, Energy Transfer could issue less stock and keep more of the upside of the combined company.

But as the industry’s outlook worsened and investors grew concerned about the combined company’s debt load, what seemed like a win for Energy Transfer became a liability.

Mr. Warren ordered Mr. Welch’s firing, according to people familiar with the matter. The company announced Feb. 5 that he had been replaced.

Mr. Welch has sued Energy Transfer for compensation he says he is owed by the company. Mr. Welch has said his termination was “motivated by an agenda unrelated” to his performance as chief financial officer.

Mr. Warren told analysts that “the decision was made by me that we needed to make a move, and we did.”

Last month, Williams filed one lawsuit in Delaware seeking to undo the convertible preferred share issue and another in Texas alleging that Mr. Warren interfered with the deal. Energy Transfer responded with a countersuit and says Williams breached the merger agreement by refusing to give its consent for the shares to be offered to all investors.

Unless the companies reach a surprise settlement, the deal’s fate will likely be decided by a judge in Delaware. A court hearing is scheduled for mid-June.

Write to Liz Hoffman at and Alison Sider

From the Wall Street Journal

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