Removing Public Funds from Socially Irresponsible Commercial Banking Institutions
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We the people call on Saint Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and City Council to divest Operating and Pension accounts from all banking institutions and investments that finance the destruction of our shared environment.
We are petitioning Saint Petersburg City Council to pass an ordinance to end the city’s relationship with such institutions and implement a Responsible Banking Ordinance (RBO) that includes social and environmental criteria when considering banking contracts.
Large, commercial banks are financing fossil fuel and pipeline projects including the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Sabal Trail Pipeline.
Dakota Access is an oil pipeline project that has destroyed sacred tribal lands, endangered the clean water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and millions of Americans, and has resulted in human rights violations of indigenous peoples and water protectors.
Sabal Trail Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline that runs underneath Florida’s Crystal and Suwannee Rivers, both endangered species habitats. Additionally, the pipeline goes directly through the Florida Aquifer, the drinking water source for over 60% of Floridians. Spectrum and Duke Energy, Sabal Trail pipeline owners, have used highly destructive practices to build the pipeline, i.e. dumping cancer causing drilling fluids into flowing bodies of water and inflicting eminent domain on land owners who refused to allow a dangerous pipeline to be built on their land. This pipeline is both a threat to the environment and to all Florida peoples.
Additionally, large banks continue such unethical practices that are incongruous with social responsibility. For instance, JP Morgan Chase was fined $13 billion dollars for selling junk mortgage securities without disclosing their full status. Another example is Wells Fargo, currently under suit by the US Justice Department for sham accounts and hiding billions in losses from regulators.
The City of Seattle recently achieved a landmark victory by divesting $3 billion from Wells Fargo, specifically highlighting the bank’s recent settlement with the City of LA and financing Dakota Access Pipeline. The City of Davis, CA followed suit by voting to divest $125 million from Wells Fargo. The divestment movement is underway, and it is time we hold banks accountable for their illegal and morally unjust behavior.
Cities all across the United States are strengthening and/or implementing socially responsible banking ordinances and divesting from unethical banks. We can no longer sit idle as banks profit from injustice. The people are ready to take on the big banks and fossil fuel industry, regardless of who resides in the White House. Seattle was the first major city to divest, Saint Petersburg will be next.
We are calling on our elected city officials and all Saint Petersburg residents to take a stand for a socially conscious and ethical world and divest all funds from the fossil fuel industry. Stand with the people and protect our planet. Divest for our future!
Drafted by Tampa Bay Divestment Coalition & Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality.
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