Wells Fargo on California Street in downtown San Francisco.

Michael McLaughlin/KCBS Radio

3-Day March To Protest 'Oily' Wells Fargo's Links To Fossil Fuel

KCBS Radio Midday News
March 14, 2019 - 10:43 am

An activist group called Oily Wells is staging a three-day march that organizers say will call attention to banking giant Wells Fargo's connection to the environmentally destructive fossil fuel industry. 

The 34-mile "March for Fossil Fuel Freedom" from Palo Alto to Wells Fargo's headquarters in San Francisco begins on Saturday and continues through Sunday with 12 so-called "Stagecoach Stops" along the way. before reaching its destination on Monday. 

March organizer Ralph King, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, told KCBS Radio that the goal is to show that large corporate banks are the "handmaidens" to oil companies that contribute to global warming.

"The only way to stop the flow of gas is to cut off the source of money that's flowing into this industry that's making bankers rich. That's why we're going after banks and Wells Fargo in particular, because they're in our backyard," King said. "We think they should become the first U.S. bank to go clean, to drop fossil fuel investments and invest in clean energy instead,"

Wells Fargo, in a statement to KCBS Radio, said that it will use $200 billion to finance businesses "that support the transition to a low-carbon economy." 

The money will be lent for renewable energy and alternative transportation projects and other clean technology projects, the statement said. As a corporate consumer, Wells Fargo's banks and offices began getting all of their energy from renewable sources in 2017, spokesman Ruben Pulido said. 

"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," Pulido said. 

The very fate of the planet hangs in the balance, according to King. But people can help reverse the global warming trend by not funding activities that are damaging the environment and speeding up climate change. The group contends that it's up to everyone to draw the line. "Unless people stand up to wealthy bankers, we're not going to be able to save this planet from a very, very bad fate," King said.