Local opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline said they won't be laying down their protest signs any time soon - despite the announcement earlier this week that the project's developer was unable to obtain land rights for a stretch of the pipeline planned to run under the Missouri River.
On Friday afternoon, five demonstrators were stationed outside of the Wells Fargo Bank drive-thru at 1800 S. Nevada Ave. to encourage people to close their account with the bank and other financial institutions that have helped fund the pipeline.
"I wouldn't be standing out here right now if I thought it. It's far from over. It's just the beginning of the battle," said 33-year-old Alejandro Jaramillo. "We have to stand up to corporate greed or it will never stop."
Jaramillo returned Monday from Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, where thousands of protesters - including Native Americans, environmental activists, even celebrities - have spent weeks, some months, demonstrating to stop the expansion of the pipeline.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday it would not approve an easement needed for Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline's developer, to construct the pipeline under Lake Oahe, a large reservoir that sits the river. The decision was a big win for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other protesters who say the pipeline could threaten the drinking water supply.
The $3.78 billion project requires the construction of roughly 1,170 miles of pipeline, which will funnel crude oil for North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois, according to Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline's developer.
But Jaramillo remained weary, noting that last month, the company asked a federal judge to approve the original construction plans.
"The biggest issue is that millions of people's water will eventually be affected by this pipeline, if they finish it," he said.
Wells Fargo is one of 17 financial institutions that has provided project-level loans for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to Food and Water Watch, a nongovernmental organization that advocates for the conservation of basic resources. Other big-name banks on the list include Citibank and SunTrust.
"People have a right to know," said protest organizer Lisa Koselak while attempting to flag down a driver to supply them with information sheets on the risks associated with the pipeline.
On Nov. 15, about 50 people flocked to downtown Colorado Springs to demonstrate against the project. Another protest is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Wells Fargo at 410 S. Cascade Ave.
A manager at the bank's South Nevada Avenue location declined to comment on the gathering.
The Associated Press and Washington Post contributed to the reporting of this article, as did The Gazette's Ellie Mulder.
Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108