A group of 16 Senators urged 11 of the largest U.S. banks to update their environmental and climate policies to prohibit funding for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The call came in a letter from Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Democrats' Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.
"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," Heinrich's letter, signed by 14 other Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., read.
"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."
The letter comes after Goldman Sachs was the first to stand against financing Arctic oil exploration or development.
"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 toward a U.S. financial sector that effectively analyzes and plans for climate risks," the Senators's letter read.
According to a Heinrich press release:
"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to unique and vulnerable ecosystems that provide habitat to 42 fish species, 37 land mammals, eight marine mammals, and over 200 migratory and resident birds. These lands and species are also central to both the subsistence lifestyle and culture of Indigenous peoples. The Arctic is also particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 14th Arctic Report Card, published in early December, cited continuing significant changes to Arctic ecosystems."
Here are 16 senators to co-sign the letter, which represents just about one-third of the 47 in the Senate minority:
- Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.
- Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
- Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
- Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
- Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
- Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
- Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
- Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
- Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
- Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Here are the 11 banks to receive the letter:
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Bank of America Corporation
- Citigroup Inc.
- Wells Fargo & Co.
- Morgan Stanley
- U.S. Bancorp
- PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
- TD Bank
- Capital One Financial Corp.
- Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
- HSBC North America Holdings Inc.
The letter also comes as notable CNBC stock analyst Jim Cramer has announced he is "done with fossil fuels," calling it the modern-day tobacco.
Also, a maker of electric vehicles, Tesla stock went parabolic Monday.
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