The Trump administration is taking aim at banks that don’t want to finance fossil fuel activities such as Arctic fossil exploration, according to The Hill.
The Office of the Comptroller of Currency proposed a new rule on Friday, saying banks should not refuse to lend to customers outright but rather based on individual risks.
The agency has framed this new rule as a way to give equal access to bank financing.
”Fair access to financial services, credit, and capital are essential to our economy,” Brian Brooks, acting Comptroller of the Currency, said in a statement. ”This proposed rule would ensure that banks meet their responsibility to provide their services fairly since they enjoy special privilege and powers because if the system fails to provide fairness to all, it cannot be a source of strength for any.”
But those who oppose the move view it as a way to twist the arms of banks to lend money to companies that produce fossil fuel.
”We’re not talking about a protected class of people … we’re talking about fossil fuel corporations,” said Ben Cushing, a Sierra Club senior campaign representative.
”The law is not designed to force banks to invest in projects that they deem to be overly risky and not good investments … banks have always had the discretion to decide what to invest in and what not to invest in,” Cushing said.