Energy & Environment

Trump criticizes banks withholding funds from certain fossil fuel projects

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President Trump on Friday expressed opposition to banks’ unwillingness to fund certain fossil fuel projects, after two major banks announced this week that they wouldn’t directly support oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

After Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) accused the banks in an Oval Office appearance of “starting to discriminate against American energy companies” and trying to “discriminate against investment in my state in Alaska,” Trump replied “I don’t like that.”

Sullivan then said that he doesn’t think the banks should be permitted to do so.

“I like the idea of looking into that,” Trump responded, asserting that the companies were “pushed by the radical left.”

“They’re afraid of the radical left. You shouldn’t be afraid of the radical left,” he added. “You cannot be discriminating against these great energy companies.”

Trump’s remarks came during an appearance in the Oval Office where he signed the latest coronavirus relief bill.

The exchange followed announcements this week by Citi and Morgan Stanley regarding their policies for funding fossil fuel projects in the Arctic as well as making other commitments surrounding funding for fossil fuel projects. 

Citi said that it will not “provide project-related financial services” for “oil and gas exploration, development and production in the Arctic Circle.”

Morgan Stanley said it won’t “directly finance new oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have previously made similar pledges.

Banks have also shied away from financing other fossil fuel projects including new coal fired power plants and new thermal coal mines. 

Democrats and environmentalists have expressed opposition to drilling in the Arctic, particularly in the wildlife refuge. 

“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,” Democratic senators wrote to several banks earlier this year.

Alaska Republicans, meanwhile, wrote their own letter to banks this year calling their Democratic colleagues “willfully ignorant of the reasonable program we enacted to guide safe production” in the Arctic refuge.

Tags Dan Sullivan Donald Trump

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