Bank of America said on Monday that it had formally renounced lending money for oil and gas drilling projects in the Arctic. It thus becomes the last major American bank to follow this path.
Asked by AFP, a spokesperson for the establishment confirmed that Bank of America had ruled out financing new drilling programs in this area, information first reported by the Bloomberg agency. The Sierra Club environmental protection association welcomed this decision.
“Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citi have announced similar policies this year,” the NGO said in a statement. “Bank of America has been facing increasing pressure for several months from indigenous communities, conservationists, and shareholders to follow suit,” the organization added.
The move comes as Donald Trump’s government formally launched a process in mid-November to sell oil and gas concessions in the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, home to several protected species including polar bears. and caribou.
This means that the sale could theoretically take place before January 20, the date of the inauguration of future US President Joe Biden. Several observers, however, doubt the possibility of concluding the process before this date.
With the price of black gold at a low level – around 45 dollars a barrel currently – it is also not certain that the concessions offered by the State, in an area far from any major infrastructure and where the exploitation of oil and gas could prove to be expensive, attract the leaders of the sector.
“Now that all of the major US banks have made it clear that they will not fund this destructive activity, it is more evident than ever that any oil company considering participating in Trump’s misguided concession sale should steer clear. Sierra Club official Ben Cushing said in the statement.
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