Gabby Brown, email@example.com, 914-261-4626
New York, NY -- Today, multinational investment bank Citigroup released an updated energy policy that rules out financing for oil and gas exploration, development and production projects in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The policy also rules out direct funding for new thermal coal mines or coal-fired power plants worldwide, or expansions of existing mines or plants, and sets a timeline for ending financing of coal mining companies. However, the policy fails to rule out funding for fracking or tar sands.
The release of this change to the bank’s policy comes in the wake of similar announcements by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, as well as more than a dozen global banks. Over the last two years, leaders from the Gwich’in Steering Committee and the Sierra Club have met with representatives from major banks to discuss the threats fossil fuel operations pose to the Arctic Refuge and why action by the financial industry is necessary.
Citigroup was set to face pressure at its annual shareholder meeting tomorrow over Arctic drilling. Tens of thousands of Sierra Club members and supporters have sent messages to Citigroup, and the bank faced a digital ad campaign this week calling for a change to its policy on the Arctic. Activists and shareholders plan to continue to turn up the heat on Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, the two major American banks that have yet to rule out funding for Arctic drilling.
“The dominoes continue to fall, and now four of the top six American banks have recognized that Arctic drilling is a toxic investment to be avoided,” said Sierra Club campaign representative Ben Cushing. “Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would be a disaster for wildlife, the climate, and the human rights of the Gwich’in Nation, and any company associated with this destruction will suffer a massive public backlash and long-lasting damage to their reputation. Banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America should act immediately to follow along with their peers or risk getting left behind.”
“For years, we have been speaking out about the need to keep drill rigs out of our sacred lands in the Arctic Refuge, and it’s amazing that a growing number of major banks are listening,” said Gwich’in Steering Committee Executive Director Bernadette Demientieff. “The Arctic Refuge is critical to our people’s food security and way of life. 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.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.