Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 21, 2020

Trump Administration Tries to Bully Banks into Funding Fossil Fuels

Sierra Club News Release

Today, the Trump administration’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a new proposal aimed at forcing banks to fund fossil fuel companies.

Over the last year, five of the six biggest American banks — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley — have all updated their lending policies to rule out funding for new drilling in the Arctic, citing significant financial and reputational risks.

Today’s proposal from Trump’s OCC comes in response to complaints from politicians including Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan that these policies ruling out bad investments discriminate against oil companies. Banking law experts have raised questions about the legality and efficacy of these efforts to intimidate banks into supporting favored industries.

In response, Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative Ben Cushing released the following statement:

“Contrary to the claims of oil-backed politicians, banks don’t want to finance more drilling in the Arctic not because of some vast liberal conspiracy, but because it’s bad business. The idea that this constitutes discrimination is ludicrous. No amount of saber-rattling in the final days of the Trump administration is going to change the fact that Arctic drilling is a risky investment that any savvy financial institution would stay far away from.”

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