Why Should Pro-Energy Americans Do Business With Anti-Development Banks?

Why Should Pro-Energy Americans Do Business With Anti-Development Banks?

April 27, 2020

Let’s be clear:  This isn’t a call to boycott many of America’s leading financial institutions.

But it is a call to consider that the bank you have your money in today might be the one keeping Alaska’s energy future from its potential tomorrow.

Backed by millions of dollars in Outside funding, the Gwich’in Steering Committee has spent the past decade traveling the world to spread its anti-development message against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Notwithstanding the fact that ANWR’s 1002 (Coastal Plain) area is purposely set aside as a development corridor, the GSC and others preach that development would harm the caribou in the region.

Organizations such as the NRDC and World Wildlife Federation, and businesses including The North Face, have joined with the GSC.  Together, they’ve financed anti-ANWR films, written anti-ANWR puff pieces in teen magazines and spoken to untold numbers of businesses and trade associations about the evils of drilling in the 1002 Area.

The past few years, they turned their attention to national and international banking giants.  Finding shareholders who align philosophically with the “leave-it-in-the-ground” mandates, they’ve hijacked annual meetings, demanding the banks adopt a “no Arctic Investment” strategy.

And they’ve been successful…way too successful.  From Lloyd’s of London to Barclay’s overseas, and US banks including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and, most recently, Morgan Stanley, they’ve “won” concessions and outright refusals to finance future Alaska projects, including ANWR.

Which brings us back to our original question.  If these banks don’t believe in Arctic development, and Alaska’s economy is driven by responsible resource development across our state, why would we continue to back those who won’t back us?

Thankfully, our leaders in Congress are pushing back against the banks’ decisions to the best of their abilities.  Senator Dan Sullivan told President Trump recently, “They (the banks) want the federal government to help support them and then they discriminate against a critical sector of the U.S. economy. I don’t think they should be allowed to do that, sir,”

We agree.  We hope you do as well, and that you’ll consider that where you bank matters.  It matters politically, it matters economically, and it matters to Alaska’s future.