Oily Wells: 3-Day March Calls On Wells Fargo To Stop Funding Big Oil

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Rally at “Oily Wells” HQ in San Francisco on Final Day

PALO ALTO, CA – Hundreds of marchers from more than 50 Bay Area grassroots organizations will act as a human billboard for three days over 34 miles to expose Wells Fargo as Big Oil’s largest banker. The coalition calls on the San Francisco-based bank to halt fossil fuel lending and to invest instead in clean energy solutions to the climate crisis.

The march, one of the longest of its kind, starts on March 16 in Palo Alto and will feature hosted “stagecoach stops” (listed below) ending with a public rally at Wells Fargo headquarters at noon on March 18, the anniversary of the bank’s founding. The march is part of a campaign launched last December by 350 Silicon Valley to urge customers and investors to cut ties with Wells Fargo (aka “Oily Wells”), the nation’s fourth largest bank.

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“The public needs to be aware that banks enable the climate emergency, and that the oil and gas industry is particularly reliant on Oily Wells,” says Nicole Kemeny, president of 350 Silicon Valley. “Ordinary citizens need to take charge of their future, feel their power and stop letting profiteers roll over them.”

Wells Fargo, plagued by recent business-practice scandals, is less well known as a leading lender on pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands, one of the most environmentally damaging sources of fuel (including the proposed Line 3 in Minnesota and Keystone XL in the Midwest). The bank is also a principal funder of the fracking industry. [NOTE: Current findings on Wells Fargo’s dirty-energy funding will be disclosed in the 10th annual Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card, led by Rainforest Action Network, embargoed until March 20.]

“If you cut off the flow of money, you can cut off the flow of oil. That’s why the divestment movement is so important,” says Isabella Zizi, an organizer with Idle No More SF Bay. “We urge Oily Wells to become the first major U.S. bank to avoid all fossil fuel infrastructure projects, as a few big European banks have already begun to do.”

To avert environmental, social and economic catastrophe, concerned citizens around the globe are heeding the U.N’s warning to take “rapid and far reaching” action within 12 years. 350 Silicon Valley joins hundreds of other groups in calling for divestment from fossil fuels, and a prohibition on new oil and gas infrastructure.

Over 50 organizational partners have produced the March for Fossil Fuel Freedom with 350 Silicon Valley, including SEIU 1021 and 521, Idle No More SF Bay, The Sierra Club, Niles Discovery Church, 350 Bay Area, and 350.org.

For complete details, visit https://oilywells.com/.

Stagecoach Stop Schedule

Saturday, March 16

8:00 - Palo Alto, 900 Stanford Shopping Center

10:30 - Redwood City, Fleishman Park, 250 McEvoy St. (at Locust St.)

12:00 - San Carlos, Community United Church of Christ, 1336 Arroyo Ave.

2:15 - San Mateo, Wells Fargo Bank, 81 West Hillsdale Blvd.

4:00 - San Mateo, Masonic Temple, 303 Tilton Ave.

Sunday, March 17

8:30 - Departure from San Mateo Masonic Temple, 303 Tilton Ave.

10:15 - Millbrae, Wells Fargo Bank, 490 Broadway

11:30 - San Bruno, First Tongan Methodist Church, 560 El Camino Real

1:15 - South San Francisco, Orange Memorial Park, 1 W. Orange Ave.

3:45 - Daly City, Jefferson High School, 6996 Mission St.

5:15 - San Francisco, Corpus Christi Church (Don Bosco Hall), 1599 Alemany Ave.

Monday, March 18

8:30 – Departure from Corpus Christi Church, 1599 Alemany Ave.

10:00 - San Francisco, Mission Dolores Park, 570 Dolores St. (@19th St.)

11:30 - San Francisco, Montgomery St. Bart Station, 598 Market St.

350 Silicon Valley is an affiliate of 350.org, which uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects; take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet; and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. 350's network extends to 188 countries. The organizations take their name from the scientifically recognized maximum safe amount of carbon in the atmosphere—350 parts per million—a level that has now been exceeded by global carbon emissions.

Update: Wells Fargo Issues A Statement

Wells Fargo is committed to accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.

We have committed $200 billion in financing through 2030 to businesses and projects that support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

  • More than $100 billion will go toward financing clean technology and renewable energy projects.
  • More than 50 percent of such financings will be focused on companies and projects that directly support the transition to a low-carbon economy, including clean technologies, renewable energy, green bonds, and alternative transportation.

Since 2012, we have invested nearly $83 billion in clean technology and other environmentally sustainable businesses, and in 2017, eight percent of all solar photovoltaic and wind energy generated in the U.S. came from facilities owned in whole or in part by Wells Fargo.

The transition is a journey, during which we will continue to honor our broader commitment to responsibly finance the development of all forms of energy in order to help meet the growing U.S. demand for transportation fuels, medical equipment and devices, and other critical needs.

Wells Fargo is also a financial services leader in sustainability within its owned and leased properties. In 2017, the bank began meeting 100 percent of its global electricity needs with renewable energy.

-Ruben Pulido, Wells Fargo spokesman

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