Bank of America’s clients may have seen that just lately the bank has been standing out from the remainder of its friends. Sadly, it hasn’t been in a great way. Proper now, Bank of America is the one main American bank that has not but dominated out funding for harmful drilling within the Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.
Over the past 12 months, each different main American bank—Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi, and Morgan Stanley—have joined greater than two dozen monetary establishments worldwide in updating their lending insurance policies to exclude funding for brand new drilling within the Arctic, together with the Arctic Refuge. Indigenous human rights are being upheld in these new insurance policies and pave the best way in the direction of a simply transition right into a sustainable economic system.
As a rising variety of main banks are making the suitable choice, all eyes are on Bank of America to see whether or not they may observe their friends or proceed to face out of their disregard for the rights of Alaska’s Indigenous folks.
For hundreds of years, the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge has sustained life for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and different family members on and off the land, that maintain the meals safety and methods of lifetime of the Iñupiat and Gwich’in folks in addition to different Alaska Native Tribes. Any disruption of this space would pose an existential menace to not simply meals safety, however our id as Iñupiat and Gwich’in Folks. Drilling within the Arctic Refuge would additionally pose an elevated public well being menace to communities on Alaska’s North Slope that already expertise extreme well being disparities instantly tied to the oil manufacturing surrounding their group.
Drilling within the Arctic Refuge violates Indigenous rights, and is a menace to the underside line of any bank that funds this harmful exercise. Because the world more and more acknowledges the pressing want to maneuver away from polluting fossil fuels, investments in costly new drilling initiatives are rising riskier. By ruling out assist for Arctic drilling, banks have acknowledged that investing in a challenge that will threaten human rights and worsen the local weather disaster is a danger that’s not worth taking.
Professional-drilling politicians which have lengthy sought to unload the coastal plain for drilling have predictably pushed again on this rising pattern, even going as far as to level to assist from firms like Arctic Slope Regional Company to say that Alaska Native folks assist drilling, or that the Gwich’in are alone of their opposition to drilling whereas the Iñupiat folks or members of different Tribes assist it. We just lately had the chance to fulfill with Bank of America executives to appropriate the document and clarify that these claims couldn’t be farther from the reality.
We allow them to know that each Gwich’in and Iñupiat Peoples have made official resolutions to guard the Arctic Refuge, and that Alaska Native firms are simply that: firms. They aren’t accountable to Tribal members, and they don’t communicate for us. Neither does Alaska’s Congressional delegation, whose push for drilling and disingenuous claims that the destruction of the Arctic Refuge would assist Native communities have made it clear that they care extra about company earnings than our well being or human rights.
We all know that we are able to’t depend on these politicians to do the suitable factor to defend our land and our communities, and the Trump administration is pushing forward to attempt to unload the coastal plain for drilling by the top of the 12 months. That’s why it’s extra essential than ever that monetary establishments like Bank of America acknowledge the function they play in serving to destroy this sacred place or preserving it intact.
As a rising variety of main banks are making the suitable choice, all eyes are on Bank of America to see whether or not they may observe their friends or proceed to face out of their disregard for the rights of Alaska’s Indigenous folks. We stand collectively, the Iñupiat and the Gwich’in, in calling on Bank of America to hearken to Indigenous folks, defend our homelands, and keep out of the Arctic Refuge.