Bank of the West's environmental stand faces blowback

August 10, 2018 - 3:08 pm

Bank of the West's decision to divest from certain fossil fuel investments has run headlong into threats of retaliation in states that get much of their revenue from coal, oil and natural gas extraction.

The San Francisco-based bank recently announced that it would be "investing where we feel we can make the most impact" and withdrawing support for companies and business activities that are "detrimental to our environment and our health."

That includes no longer doing business with companies whose main activity is tied to oil and gas from shale or tar sands. It also will no longer finance oil and gas exploration or production projects in the Arctic. Nor will it finance coal mines or coal-fired power plants that are not actively involved in the energy transition.

The bank's position doesn't sit well in some parts of the West, such as Wyoming and Colorado, that rely heavily on energy production for their livelihood.

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