Three dozen lawmakers are pushing the Trump administration to get tough on banks and asset managers that restrict financing for oil drilling and coal mining, arguing they are "discriminating against America's energy sector" and it "must be confronted."
In a letter released Friday, the lawmakers told President Donald Trump that he should punish those lenders by blocking them from participating in federally guaranteed loan programs created in response to the coronavirus, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
"We urge you and your administration to use every administrative and regulatory tool at your disposal to prevent America's financial institutions from discriminating against America's energy sector while they simultaneously enjoy the benefits of federal government programs," the 14 senators and 22 representatives wrote.
The push, led by Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., comes as major lenders adopt policies against financing some fossil fuel projects at the urging of environmentalists and Alaska natives. Five major U.S. banks have now ruled out financing oil projects in the Arctic, and BlackRock Inc., the world's largest asset manager, has decided to forgo investing in coal.
Sullivan previously pressed the issue during an Oval Office event with Trump. And Cramer threatened in a tweet to press for "appropriate action" as a member of the Senate's banking committee.
The energy sector is critical to the nation's economic recovery and national security, but banks are unfairly picking winners and losers "in order to placate the environmental fringe," the lawmakers told Trump. "Scoring cheap political points at the expense of American energy workers is an affront to our economic success and must be confronted."