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    A log adorned with colorful decorations remains at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest encampment as construction work continues on the pipeline near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., October 30, 2016

    Question of Ethics? Norwegian Stake in Debated US Pipeline in the Spotlight

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    Of late, Norway's sovereign oil fund and some of its largest financial groups have come under fire for providing funding for a controversial overseas pipeline, which caused massive protests in the US and triggered one of the intense conflicts with Native Americans in decades.

    At present, the Norwegian Ethnic Council is considering whether the oil fund should pull out of the controversial pipeline. Since the council's proceedings may take up to a year, numerous organizations, including Norway's Sami Parliament (which represents Norway's indigenous minority group, the Sami) and the Norwegian Conservation Society, called on the Norwegian government for immediate action.

    The pension savings of 650,000 Norwegians were found to have been invested in four companies with financial interests in the heavily disputed Dakota Access Pipeline project (DAPL, also known as ‘Black Snake'), which previously spurred massive environmental protests by Native Americans, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported.

    Earlier this week, the KLP insurance company confirmed that it had invested in firms involved in DAPL, which aims to transfer crude oil across the American Midwest. This revelation triggered ethic concerns, as the controversial pipeline was met with vehement opposition from Native Americans, who claimed it desecrated sacred tribal lands, violates treaties and endangers millions of people's access to clean drinking water.

    ​​Annie Bersagel, an investment advisor for KLP, told Aftenposten that the pension fund continuously monitors all of its investments to ensure that they do not violate guidelines for responsible investment. Additionally, KLP expects its fellow investors to respect human rights.

    Previously, Norway's massive sovereign oil fund invested 6.7 billion NOK (roughly $850mln) in three companies whose various subsidiaries are involved in the ownership, construction and operation of DAPL, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported. DAPL's overall bill is expected to come in at 4 billion USD.

    The same Aftenposten newspaper also revealed that Norwegian bank DNB invested nearly 3 billion NOK ($370mln) into the pipeline. Following the public outrage, DNB expressed concern over the situation and is by its own admission poised to re-evaluate its financing, ensuring of its deep respect for the indigenous people's rights.

    Last weekend, demonstrations of solidarity with Sioux Indians at Standing Rock reservation was held in the Norwegian capital of Oslo and the city of Bergen.

    "We are here to show solidarity with those who fight at Standing Rock. The battle they fight there is the same here in Norway: against climate change," Gaute Eiterjord, deputy head of Nature and Youth, which is one of 19 Norwegian organizations that supported the protests. "This is in no way a responsible investment," Eitergjord told Aftenposten.

    The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,886-kilometer-long underground oil pipeline project in the United States. It will begin in the Bakken oil fields in Northwest North Dakota and will travel in a more or less straight line south-east, through South Dakota and Iowa, to the oil tank farm in Illinois.


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    DAPL, native Americans, ethics, Scandinavia, United States, North Dakota, South Dakota, Norway
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