Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents target bank with latest protest

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Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have opened a new front in their fight against the controversial project.

Tuesday afternoon, more than a dozen people protested outside the Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Roanoke.

Pipeline opponents say Wells Fargo is one of the six major banks financing construction of the natural gas pipeline.

The protestors were urging customers to close their accounts.

Carolyn Reilly is a Franklin County landowner, whose property lies in the path of the proposed natural gas pipeline.

"I'm here out of gratitude to someone who is saying I am choosing to move my money and close my accounts with Wells Fargo."

The protesters were also challenging Well Fargo's participation in the Dakota Access Pipeline. And Wells Fargo shared the following statement Tuesday evening.

"As a company committed to environmental sustainability and human rights, we respect all the differing opinions being expressed in this dispute. We are closely following the developments in this situation and are hopeful that all parties involved will work together for a peaceful and positive outcome."

"Wells Fargo is one of 17 financial institutions involved in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline. The loans we have provided represent less than five percent of the total, and we are contractually bound to fulfill our legal obligations under the credit agreement so long as our customer continues to meet all of its terms and conditions."

"The DAPL project was evaluated by an independent engineer to be compliant with the Equator Principles, a framework adopted by Wells Fargo in 2005 that is designed to determine, assess, and manage social and environmental risks and impacts of projects. As a result of issues that have arisen in this case, we have enhanced our due diligence in sectors subject to our Environmental and Social Risk Management policy to include more focused research into whether or not indigenous communities are impacted and/or have been properly consulted."