Whitehorse Daily Star

Reject funding for ANWR drilling, banks are urged

Fifteen Canadian environmental groups released an open letter Friday calling on Toronto Dominion (TD), CIBC and Scotiabank to rule out funding for oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

By Whitehorse Star on October 26, 2020

Fifteen Canadian environmental groups released an open letter Friday calling on Toronto Dominion (TD), CIBC and Scotiabank to rule out funding for oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The move came days after the Bank of Montreal announced it will not finance fossil fuel development in the Arctic Refuge.

Earlier this month, RBC became the first Canadian bank to release an Arctic refuge policy.

The letter’s signatories include the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Greenpeace Canada, 350.org, Stand.Earth, the Wilderness Committee, Nature Canada, and CPAWS chapters from nine provinces and territories.

The letter states that “even though the Arctic Refuge is situated in Alaska, oil and gas development would send ripple effects into Canada.”

Environmental groups “strongly oppose oil and gas development on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and urge (Canadian banks) to enact a policy to screen out financing for such projects.”

This letter comes at an important moment in the decades-long campaign to protect the refuge, the groups said.

“The banking industry is distancing itself from drilling in the Arctic refuge,” said Malkolm Boothroyd, the campaigns co-ordinator with CPAWS Yukon.

“TD, CIBC and Scotiabank will become laggards if they don’t take formal action soon.”

A growing list of banks have already refused to fund drilling in the refuge, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo in the United States, and more than a dozen banks overseas.

Pressure is mounting on TD, CIBC and Scotiabank to also reject funding for refuge drilling, the groups said.

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Gwich’in Tribal Council and CPAWS Yukon have been in discussions with Canada’s five major banks since last December.

In recent weeks, more than 11,000 CPAWS supporters have written to banks in favour of protecting the Arctic Refuge.

“Canadians from coast to coast have told the banks that the Arctic Refuge is no place for drilling, and it’s good to see that BMO has heard the message,” said Chris Rider, CPAWS Yukon’s executive director.

“It’s no longer a matter of which bank will be next to make an Arctic Refuge policy – we’re now watching a race for who will be the last to the finish line.”

The refuge is a sacred land to the Gwich’in, and the birthplace of the Porcupine caribou herd.

The U.S. government recently approved an oil and gas leasing program in the refuge.

The Gwich’in and environmental groups, including CPAWS Yukon, are challenging the decision in court.

Comments (11)

Up 1 Down 0

Observer on Nov 1, 2020 at 6:50 pm

John, everyone knows and realizes that we have to have some resource extraction, everyone knows that everyone uses resources to live. What most environmental groups and people are saying is that we have to be smart about where we develope and take resource, we have to be smart about what we leave behind. Quite honestly your train of thought is quite outdated and lame.

Up 1 Down 1

John on Nov 1, 2020 at 9:31 am

Whew, I’m glad I’m not part of any of those environmental groups funded by taxpayers. If I was I would feel guilty and couldn’t live with my myself every time I sat in my heated home or drove my vehicle or used my cell phone.....

Up 0 Down 1

Spud on Oct 31, 2020 at 3:51 pm

I have said it before and will say it again, big money, ie., big banks and big business will lead the world into looking out and after the environment. They will do it because like they always do, to make more money.

Up 9 Down 10

Nathan Living on Oct 29, 2020 at 12:37 am

I support the banks and total protection of caribou calving grounds.

Up 6 Down 21

Patti Eyre on Oct 28, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Maximum max max I missed the part where they’re demanding buckets of cash, not in the article at all. Make up whatever ya want why don’t ya, if it’ll help your point!

Up 31 Down 7

Max Mack on Oct 27, 2020 at 10:13 pm

@Patti Eyre
I'm simply pointing out the utter hypocrisy of FNs who claim to be "keepers" of the land while demanding buckets of cash to live a modern lifestyle. Meanwhile, they practice harvesting methods that defy game management conventions.
Stop watching Disney movies, Patti.

Up 8 Down 34

Patti Eyre on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:54 pm

Oh Maximum max max, that’s not at all what they said you know it but you can’t stand the idea that folks want to preserve an ancient way of life that doesn’t conform with your notion of progress so criticize deflect and deflate. I will pray for you!

Up 35 Down 11

Max Mack on Oct 27, 2020 at 11:34 am

"The refuge is sacred land to the Gwich'in."

So, does that mean the Gwich'in don't hunt caribou because they are considered "sacred"?
Does that mean that Gwich'in don't hunt cows, even pregnant cows and juvenile caribou because, you know, "sacred"?
Does that mean the Gwich'in don't overhunt as has been repeatedly documented?

Up 34 Down 9

JC on Oct 26, 2020 at 8:22 pm

These environmental groups are NGOs living on taxpayers money. Yes, that's also oil taxes as well. What right do they have to lobby anybody to shut down business that pay into the tax base when they don't. I guess the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Maybe its time industry started to do some squeaking.

Up 26 Down 8

JohnW on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:08 pm

No oil companies are seeking funding from Canadian banks to drill in ANWR because it's not economically feasible to produce petroleum from ANWR. This is nothing more than virtue-signalling and facile posturing from any banks, NGOs or governments.

Up 42 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Oct 26, 2020 at 2:55 pm

I wonder how long it will be before banks are lobbied to stop granting loans for people to buy fuel-burning vehicles?
Follow the trend to where it ends.

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