America’s Biggest Bank Will Not Fund Arctic Refuge Drilling

Press release from the Sierra Club

Contact: Gabby Brown,

New York, NY — JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, has released an updated energy policy that rules out financing for new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The policy also rules out financing for new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects worldwide, though the bank failed to put any restrictions on other oil and gas, including fracking and controversial tar sands projects.

The update from Chase follows the release of a similar policy update by Goldman Sachs, 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.

“The Trump administration is pulling out all the stops to sell off our homelands for drilling, so big banks have a critical role to play in either supporting the destruction of this sacred place or keeping it protected,” said Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee. “We’re glad to see America’s largest bank recognize that the Arctic Refuge is no place for drilling, and we hope that soon other banks and the oil companies they fund will follow along.”

In the three years after the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted, Chase poured more than $196 billion into fossil fuels, more than any other bank, and has been the largest funder of Arctic oil and gas. Chase is a top target of the growing Stop the Money Pipeline coalition, which is working to hold major financial institutions accountable for their role in driving the climate crisis.

“The fact that even the world’s worst fossil fuel banker wants nothing to do with Arctic Refuge drilling shows just how toxic an investment it would be. The public is watching, and any bank that supports destroying this unique landscape and trampling the human rights of the Gwich’in will face a powerful public backlash,” said Sierra Club campaign representative Ben Cushing. “Now that Chase and Goldman Sachs have drawn a line in the sand, all eyes are on Wells Fargo, Citi, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America. Who will be the last to recognize that financing drilling in the Arctic is an expensive risk that’s not worth taking?”

When the JPMorgan Chase policy is live online, additional analysis can be found here.


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

Date of publication: 24 Feb 2020

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