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Alaska wants to shun banks that don’t fund state oil and gas

December 16, 2020 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said his administration plans to introduce a bill requiring state agencies to end ties to financial institutions that don’t finance oil and gas development in the state.

Dunleavy, a Republican, said Monday that his office would introduce the bill during the upcoming legislative session.

The proposal follows a series of announcements by many of the U.S.’s largest banks that they will not invest in Arctic oil and gas projects. The banks include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Conservation groups had lobbied the banks to stop investing in fossil fuels in the region as part of an initiative to block drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported.

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Dunleavy said his proposal would “protect Alaska’s economy” but the scope of his proposal was not immediately clear.

“It makes no sense for Alaska to allow financial institutions to benefit handsomely from Alaska’s financial activities on one hand, while working against our interests on the other,” Dunleavy said in a statement.

A Dunleavy spokesperson, Jeff Turner, said the specifics would be crafted in draft legislation that was not available on Monday. Turner said he did not know which banks would be targeted by the proposal.

The Alaska Wilderness League, an environmental group opposed to oil and gas drilling, criticized Dunleavy’s proposal.

The organization said that “speculative, high cost projects in places like Alaska’s Arctic are no longer attractive to investors, especially with the realities of climate change and as more lucrative opportunities in renewable energy or unconventional oil plays down south exist.”