That should put a stop to Donald Trump's plans, in his last gasp weeks, to sell drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
After ongoing pressure from environmental groups and Indigenous communities, Bank of America has said (finally!) that it will not finance any oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, making it the last major U.S. financial institution to do so.
The decision, which was announced to Bloomberg News this week, comes after Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Wells Fargo and Citi Bank all announced official no-Arctic-drilling policies earlier this year.
With the outgoing and seemingly environmentally illiterate President currently trying to sell leases for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the decision from Bank of America to stay away from Arctic drilling is especially important.
“Now that every major American bank has stated unequivocally that they will not finance this destructive activity, it should be clearer than ever that any oil company considering participating in Trump’s ill-advised lease sale should stay away,” said Ben Cushing, Senior Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club, the grassroots environmental organization.
Together with Bank of America and the other 5 major US banks, nearly 30 major banks around the world have now made it official policy to refrain from financing arctic drilling.
Environmental and Indigenous groups have long opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, partly because of its potential impact on Indigenous rights and endangered species such as polar bears and caribou. ANWR's coastal plain is the birthing and nursing ground for the Porcupine Caribou herd, and the Gwich'in Nation of Canada and Alaska considers it the "Sacred Place Where Life Begins." In 1988, the nation formed the Gwich'in Steering Committee to oppose oil and gas drilling on the plain.
"The Trump administration has never even pretended to care about the Indigenous communities whose human rights would be threatened by the destruction of the coastal plain, but major financial institutions are listening to us," Gwich'in Steering Committee Executive Director Bernadette Demientieff said in the Sierra Club press release. "We will never stop fighting to protect the sacred calving grounds from destructive drilling, and we will prevail."
More Good News from America: Whatever your political view - and this has nothing to do with the elections - here's some happy climate-related news from the USA. Courtesy of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, they highlight some positive trends in public opinion on global warming. As there is so little debate in America about the environment in mainstream media, combined with the general assumption that Trump's climate denial was adopted by his supporters, it's fantastic news to discover that this general impression is wrong. See details