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OCC Hits Pause on Climate Polluter Giveaway

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In compliance with the Biden administration’s order to halt Trump’s midnight rulemakings, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that it is pausing publication on its deceptively titled Fair Access to Financial Services proposed rule. The rule will not take effect before a Biden appointee has had a chance to withdraw it in response to overwhelming public opposition. The rule, which would have pressured and, in some cases, required banks to lend to fossil fuel companies, without regard to strategic or reputational risk, was finalized only eight days after the comment period closed. Yevgeny Shrago, policy counsel for Public Citizen’s Energy and Climate Program, released the following statement:

“We applaud the Biden administration for halting this parting gift from the Trump administration to the fossil fuel industry. However, the OCC’s announcement still perpetuates the rule’s flawed legal claim that banks must continue to serve industries like the fossil fuel sector even when they become too risky. As Public Citizen’s comment on the rule showed, the OCC has never taken this position before. In fact, it is reasonable and sometimes necessary for banks to terminate relationships with financially and reputationally risky categories of business, including fossil fuels. We look forward to the final withdrawal of this flawed rule and the preposterous theory behind it. It is an outrage that OCC perverted its mission to prevent racial discrimination into one to protect Big Oil.”

Please contact the individuals listed above to speak with Shrago or David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program.