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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 HeinrichSenate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.M.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan Democrats introduce bill to give hotels targeted relief Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Bipartisan Senate group calls for Biden to impose more sanctions on Myanmar junta A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US MORE (D-Ore.), Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D-N.J.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoIf you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Senate tries to shake off graveyard status MORE (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallTom UdallStudy: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate Bipartisan bill seeks to raise fees for public lands drilling MORE (D-N.M.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStrengthen CBP regulations to reduce opioid deaths Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld MORE (D-Minn.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetManchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Democrats vow to push for permanent child tax credit expansion Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Colo.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyCivilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinIf you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' MORE (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden to record video message for 'Vax Live' concert Harris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' MORE (D-Calif.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenIs America slipping to autocracy? Trade representative says policy must protect key industries Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Md.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap On The Money: Democratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan | Progressives push on student debt relief No designated survivor chosen for Biden's joint address to Congress MORE (D-Vt.).

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' 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.