Gabby Brown, email@example.com
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In a new policy statement released today, Morgan Stanley made minor updates to its criteria for financing fossil fuel projects but failed to rule out funding for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Home to more than 200 species of wildlife, the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is one of the world’s last truly wild places. It is considered sacred to the Gwich’in Nation, who rely on the Porcupine caribou herd that migrates there for their food security and way of life. The Trump administration has pursued drilling on an accelerated schedule and plans to hold a lease sale in the coastal plain as soon as the end of this year.
Earlier this week, Royal Bank of Scotland released updates to their own environmental policy explicitly ruling out support for the destruction of the Arctic Refuge, following similar commitments from other international banks including Barclays and National Australia Bank. Some of the world’s most significant institutional investors have also raised concernsabout the risks associated with Arctic Refuge drilling and urged companies and financial institutions not to invest there.
“Financial institutions around the world are recognizing the financial and reputational damage in store for any company involved in drilling in the Arctic Refuge, but Morgan Stanley has opted to leave themselves open to that backlash,” said Sierra Club Campaign Representative Ben Cushing. “Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would be a disaster for wildlife, the climate, and the human rights of the Gwich’in Nation, and any bank that supports this destructive activity will have the American public and major investors to answer to.”
“It's disappointing that, despite hearing from the Gwich'in people about the existential threat drilling in the Arctic Refuge coastal plain poses to my people, Morgan Stanley refuses to commit not to fund the destruction of our sacred lands,” said Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee. “Any bank that supports this destruction will have to answer to the Gwich’in and to the millions of Americans who stand with us. These are our homelands, and we will continue to stand against anyone who provides funding for the companies that would violate our human rights. We will not give up until this place is permanently protected.”