Morgan Stanley became the latest bank to pull out of Arctic drilling, when they released their revised policy at the end of April. They became the fifth major U.S. bank to announce it will no longer support drilling the arctic, following similar moves from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, all in the space of four months. Bank of America is the only major U.S. holdout.
Securing funding now poses a big obstacle for oil companies looking to expand into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, particularly now during coronavirus, when the oil industry is experiencing a collapse in prices and a decline in demand. Coupled with the remote location of potential drilling sites and the infrastructure needed to support major drilling there, and arctic drilling is looking more and more unlikely.
None of this would have been possible without the dedicated, years-long advocacy efforts by environmentalists and Indigenous groups such as the Gwich’in Steering Committee. From Gwich’in Steering Committee Executive Director Bernadette Demientieff, “For years, we have been speaking out about the need to keep drill rigs out of our sacred lands in the Arctic Refuge, and it’s amazing that a growing number of major banks are listening.”