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“Climate: Federal Regulator Nixes Bank Fossil Fuel Pledges”

“A top federal banking regulator today finalized new standards against pledges by major banks to halt investment in the fossil fuel industry.

The rule, scurried through the regulatory process just days before the Biden administration takes office, would require banks to provide “fair access” to financial services to companies regardless of industry.

The plan from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency targets major financial institutions — including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America — that have promised not to fund drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge amid pressure from environmental groups.

“When a large bank decides to cut off access to charities or even embassies serving dangerous parts of the world or companies conducting legal businesses in the United States that support local jobs and the national economy, they need to show their work and the legitimate business reasons for doing so,” acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks said in a statement.”

Nick Sobczyk reports for E&E News January 14, 2021.