People protest banks connected to oil pipeline

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CHAMPAIGN — The U.S Army Corps of Engineers have given the go-ahead to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s a project has sparked outrage from people across the country, and Champaign is no exception.

Today’s protest was focused on banks. A crowd gathered at Chase Bank downtown then marched to PNC. They say that’s because those two are invested in the pipeline. Other than marching and chanting some of today’s protesters took further action.

Even though they’re nearly 1,000 miles away from the Standing Rock Reservation, these people say they’ve got plenty of reasons to protest the pipeline.

“It’s really devastating for a lot of the water protectors,” says Cailie Kafura. Charles Segard says, “We need to start moving away from oil.” Kafura adds, “That aside this is an ancestral burial site for the Sioux that live there.”

Like others around the country they’re targeting the banks connected to it. At Chase Bank in downtown Champaign two protesters walked inside to close their accounts. Next stop…

“PNC Bank,” a protester shouts.

“It’s a powerful statement to say I’m willing to make this sacrifice because this is not where we want our money invested in these types of projects,” says Kafura.

She says pipelines have proven to be disastrous for the environment. U.S. Representative John Shimkus of Illinois 15th District disagreed in a tweet: 

He says: “Pipelines are without a doubt the safest, most efficient way to move American-produced crude oil. Great news…” Additionally, President Trump says the project will create 28,000 construction jobs. Kafura says that’s good in the short-run.

Kafura says, “There’s the construction phase, but once it’s built there are no jobs left because the pipeline is built and all that’s left to be done is to be monitoring the pipeline after that.”

She says sending a strong message is key, but for immediate results people against the pipeline should do their own monitoring.

“If you can go to Standing Rock go there as soon as possible because they need the bodies on the line to try to physically put their bodies in front of this pipeline project to stop it,” says Kafura.

Activists say people are leaving banks across the country in protest of the pipeline. Wells Fargo says it’s one of 17 banks supporting it. Yesterday the Seattle City Council voted to cut ties with the bank for it’s role.

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