Bank of America said Monday that it would not finance oil and gas drilling projects in the Arctic. “Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Wells Fargo and Citi have all announced similar policies this year,” the environmental protection Sierra Club said in a statement.
“Bank of America has faced mounting pressure in recent months from indigenous communities, environmental advocates and shareholders to follow suit,” Sierra Club said.
The decision comes after US President Donald Trump’s administration started the formal process of selling oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the US state of Alaska.
The refuge is home to a number of animals, including polar bears, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, caribou, wolves, eagles, lynx, and migratory birds.
Sales could in theory occur before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, though some analysts doubt the process can be concluded by then.
“It has long been clear that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would trample indigenous rights, threaten vulnerable wildlife and worsen the climate crisis,” said the Sierra Club’s Ben Cushing.
“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.”