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 HeinrichThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Degrees not debt will grow the economy Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.M.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCongress should reject H.R. 1619's dangerous anywhere, any place casino precedent Alabama Republican touts provision in infrastructure bill he voted against Telehealth was a godsend during the pandemic; Congress should keep the innovation going MORE (D-Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Lawmakers call on Olympic committee to press China on human rights abuses MORE (D-Ore.), Cory BookerCory BookerMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-N.J.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHonolulu shuts down water well amid fuel contamination concern Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Democrats call out Biden Supreme Court commission MORE (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallTom UdallRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees Senate confirms Thomas Nides as US ambassador to Israel Flake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay MORE (D-N.M.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing GOP Sen. Braun says abortion laws should be left up to states Klobuchar says 'best way' to protect abortion rights is to codify Roe v. Wade into law MORE (D-Minn.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats see Christmas goal slipping away Hickenlooper: Law preventing cannabis business banking 'a recipe for disaster' Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-Colo.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyInstagram chief gets bipartisan grilling over harm to teens Senators seek to curb counterfeit toys and goods sold online Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (D-Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden administration seeks review of Trump-era approval of water pipeline What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? New variant raises questions about air travel mandates MORE (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense & National Security — Biden: US troops to Ukraine 'not on the table' Gillibrand slams committee leadership, Pentagon for military justice reform cuts Lawmakers reach compromise on annual defense policy bill MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTop Dem vows party won't let expanded child tax credit expire at month's end Hugh Hewitt pleads with Trump to not endorse Greitens in Missouri Jussie Smollett's final act: How a hate crime hoax became a pitch for jury nullification MORE (D-Calif.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenReal relief from high gas prices Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Md.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyVermont Lt. Gov. launches bid for US House Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans MORE (D-Vt.).

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray discusses US's handling of COVID-19 testing Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense & National Security — Lawmakers clinch deal on defense bill 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.