The Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s main protest encampment has been evicted, but the battle over the Dakota Access pipeline rages on. According to the Guardian, Storebrand, Norway’s largest private investor, sold off almost $35 million worth of shares in three companies connected to the controversial pipeline. Storebrand specializes in sustainable, socially conscious investing, so it makes sense it would divest from firms tied to the controversial project. Storebrand is just one of a growing number of companies that have pulled funds from the construction of the pipeline, a project that’s garnered headlines around the world.
Drilling has already begun on the 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access pipeline, but the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes refuse to give up the fight. Storebrand’s actions are seen as a small victory for the local tribes. Whether or not it will be enough to stop the Dakota project or get the pipeline rerouted remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome, Storebrand’s decision to divest funds shows other companies and investors that their bottom line will suffer if they “finance environmentally racist projects.” At the very least, Storebrands’s actions serve as a warning to other private companies, which in turn might deter these sorts of “lightning rod” projects from getting underway in the future.
The Standing Rock Sioux’s tribe’s attempt to halt the Dakota Access project has attracted environmentalists and activists from around the world. Earlier in the year, large protest camps had numerous clashes with law enforcement and private security guards. While the Standing Rock Sioux tribe continues to fight the building of the Dakota Pipeline in federal court, maybe likeminded investors who follow Storefront’s lead will have the biggest impact in halting construction of the pipeline.