One of America’s leading banks, U.S. Bank, announced in April that it would formally exclude all gas and oil pipelines from its project financing.
In a revision to the company’s Environmental Responsibility Policy, U.S. Bank stated that it no longer “provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines.” Further, U.S. Bank explained that “relationships with clients in the oil and gas pipeline industries are subject to the Bank’s enhanced due diligence processes.”
This new policy is added to existing policies not to “extend credit to, provide financing to, or participate in relationships involving individual Mountain Top Removal (MTR) projects or coal producers who rely on MTR for anything more than a limited portion of its firm’s overall coal production” as well as direct prohibition for “project financing of coal-fired power plants and relationships that involve constructing such plants.”
The news was unsurprisingly welcomed by environmental advocates seeking to hinder the development of future gas and oil pipelines in the United States.
“U.S. Bank’s new policy is an important step in protecting the environment and moving towards a fossil free future,” said Wichahpi Otto, a volunteer with the climate justice group MN350, who travelled to Nashville for the shareholders meeting. “We applaud them for responding to the community and contributing to worldwide efforts to address climate change.”
According to MN350 (The Minnesota chapter of 350.org), U.S. Bank had recently renewed commitments with Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and with Enbridge Energy, the company operating pipelines in Minnesota, but there appears to be no news yet whether these agreements have been invalidated or skate by thanks to some grandfathering trickery.
“We applaud this progressive decision from U.S. Bank,” added Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth. “A strong message is being sent to the fossil fuel industry: we are consumers, we have agency and the right to know how our money is being invested. Move to a green economy and a future that does not profit off the destruction of Mother Earth and our communities.”
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