Wells Fargo Announces Ban On Financing Arctic Oil And Gas Drilling

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Above photo: US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis/AP.

The world’s top bank to finance fracked oil and gas will no longer fund for oil and gas projects in the Arctic. Wells Fargo recently updated its environment policy to prohibit Arctic drilling and now joins Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase along with several other global banks.

The bank supports the “principles of the Paris Agreement” and believes that “policy action is essential to make meaningful progress against the Agreement’s goal,” therefore will “forego participation in any project-specific transaction in the region,” including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the policy stated.

“Wells Fargo’s decision to rule out funding for Arctic drilling is clear evidence that investing in the destruction of the Arctic Refuge would be toxic to any company involved,” Ben Cushing, Sierra Club campaign representative, said. “The Trump administration still hasn’t given up on trying to sell off the Arctic Refuge for drilling, but oil companies should pay close attention to the events of the past few months and think twice before bidding.”

Leaders from the Gwich’in Steering Committee applaud Wells Fargo’s announcement to step back from funding Arctic Refuge drilling as the indigenous people of the area continue to fight to protect their land, animals and people.

“The Arctic Refuge is critical to our people’s food security and way of life,” Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of Gwich’in Steering Committee, said. “Our human rights will not be dismissed. The fight to protect this place is far from over, and we will continue to hold accountable any bank, oil company, or politician that seeks to benefit from its destruction.”

While the update to Wells Fargo’s Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) framework and policies included its new position on Arctic finance, it does not make mention of their stance on funding other fossil fuel projects. Instead, the policy stated that “Wells Fargo is committed to accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, in addition to continuing to support the responsible development of conventional energy.”

As of recent, three of the United States’ top six banks all announced a ban on funding Arctic drilling, according to a press release.