Friday, November 20, 2020

Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing

A new Trump administration proposal is taking aim at banks’ attempts to exclude certain fossil fuel activities including fossil exploration in the Arctic from financing. The Office of the Comptroller of Currency, which proposed the new rule on Friday, states that decisions by banks to not serve a specific customer should be based on individual risks, rather than a categorical exclusion. It is billing the new rule as a measure to ensure fair access to financing. “Fair access to financial services, credit, and capital are essential to our economy,” acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks said in a statement. “This proposed rule would ensure that banks meet their responsibility to provide their services fairly since they enjoy special privilege and powers because if the system fails to provide fairness to all, it cannot be a source of strength for any.” Critics see an attempt to force banks to provide financing for fossil fuel production, particularly in the Arctic, something that most major U.S. banks have put self-imposed restrictions on. “We’re not talking about a protected class of people ... we’re talking about fossil fuel corporations,” said Ben Cushing, a Sierra Club senior campaign representative...MORE

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