Democratic senators ask banks to prohibit funding Arctic drilling

Democratic senators ask banks to prohibit funding Arctic drilling
© Getty Images

A group of 15 Democratic senators wrote to 11 major banks last week asking them to ban funding oil and gas drilling or exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

"The scale of your banks’ assets individually, let alone together, give you the ability to drive change in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in shifting towards a U.S. financial sector that effectively analyzes and plans for climate risks," the senators wrote.

"We respectfully urge you to reassess your current environmental and climate policies and update them to include a prohibition on funding for oil and gas drilling or exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," they continued.

ADVERTISEMENT

Their letter follows a December announcement by Goldman Sachs that it would prohibit financing for new drilling or exploration in the Arctic, including in the refuge. 

"As one of the largest banks operating in the United States, we write to ask that you join your peers in the U.S. and abroad and commit to stop financing of oil and gas drilling and exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," the letter stated.

"Protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not only intrinsically important, it is also critical in the broader context of wilderness protection, Indigenous rights, working to combat climate change, and preparing the U.S. economy to weather the growing impacts of the climate crisis," it added.

Their letters were addressed to executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co.Bank of America Corp.Citigroup Inc.Wells Fargo & Co.Morgan StanleyU.S. BancorpPNC Financial Services Group Inc.TD BankCapital One Financial Corp.Citizens Financial Group Inc., and HSBC North America Holdings Inc.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson told The Hill that the company does not directly finance oil and gas projects in the Arctic region, but may extend credit to companies operating there.

The letters were signed by Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDefense bill creates new office to study UFOs This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Degrees not debt will grow the economy MORE (D-N.M.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: More of Biden's agenda teeters on collapse The Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin Senate to take up voting rights bill Tuesday, missing Schumer deadline MORE (D-Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Lawmakers seek 'assurances' Olympic uniforms not linked to forced labor Watch Live: Schumer, Senate Democrats hold press conference MORE (D-Ore.), Cory BookerCory BookerCNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee Barnes rakes in almost 0K after Johnson enters Wisconsin Senate race Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (D-N.J.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats, poised for filibuster defeat, pick at old wounds  Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema Dems worry they'll be boxed out without changes to filibuster, voting rules  MORE (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallTom UdallCruz to get Nord Stream 2 vote as part of deal on Biden nominees Democrats threaten to play hardball over Cruz's blockade Rubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees MORE (D-N.M.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden huddles with group of senators on Ukraine-Russia tensions Democrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown Apple warns antitrust legislation could expose Americans to malware MORE (D-Minn.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: 'Incredible courage and resolve' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Mars may start 'terraforming itself' Boulder County picks up pieces after unprecedented wind and firestorm MORE (D-Colo.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Democrats call for investigation into reported price gouging for COVID-19 tests Biden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending MORE (D-Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act Domestic travel vaccine mandate back in spotlight Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Former aide says she felt 'abandoned' by Democrats who advanced Garcetti nomination as ambassador to India Schumer vows to push forward with filibuster change: 'The fight is not over' MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures Democrats ponder Plan B strategy to circumvent voting rights filibuster Watch: Lawmakers, activists, family members call for voting rights legislation on MLK day MORE (D-Calif.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenHogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Top Republicans pressing Hogan to run for Senate Democrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit MORE (D-Md.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyFormer US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sen. Kaine, drivers stranded in I-95 backup Senate delays vote as DC hit by snowstorm MORE (D-Vt.).

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema White House to make 400 million N95 masks available for free MORE (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Senate Democrats and is a leading contender for the party's presidential nomination, also signed the letter.

A provision in a 2017 tax bill opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling following years of debate over the matter.

Updated: Feb. 4, 10:41 a.m.