Democratic senators ask banks to prohibit funding Arctic drilling

Democratic senators ask banks to prohibit funding Arctic drilling
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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.

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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.

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The letters were signed by Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections Bottom line MORE (D-N.M.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats slam Trump for threatening to hold Michigan funds Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections Coronavirus drives record number of complaints to consumer bureau MORE (D-Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Oregon GOP Senate nominee contradicts own campaign by saying she stands with QAnon MORE (D-Ore.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff MORE (D-N.J.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Conservative group launches campaign accusing Democrats of hypocrisy on Kavanuagh, Biden Hillicon Valley: Commerce announces new Huawei restrictions | Russian meddling report round five | Google's ad business in spotlight MORE (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDHS watchdog to investigate COVID-19 cases in ICE detention facilities Hispanic Caucus makes major ad buy for New Mexico Democratic candidate for House Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections MORE (D-N.M.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 MORE (D-Minn.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill MORE (D-Colo.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: New documents show EPA rolled back mileage standards despite staff, WH concerns | Land management bureau grants 75 royalty rate cuts for oil and gas | EPA employees allege leadership interference with science in watchdog survey EPA's Wheeler grilled by Democrats over environmental rollbacks amid COVID-19 Markey says EPA administrator should apologize to minorities for coronavirus response MORE (D-Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter Justice Department closing stock investigations into Loeffler, Inhofe, Feinstein MORE (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 MORE (D-Calif.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Lawmakers urge Trump to cancel DC's July 4 event: 'Impossible to put on safely' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead MORE (D-Md.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting MORE (D-Vt.).

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton 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.