Republican state officials are preparing plans to punish awake banks that promote anti-fossil fuel policies and adhere to so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.
West Virginia announced last week that it will prevent five major financial institutions, including BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan, from entering into banking contracts with the state treasurer’s office or any state agency. Each of the five companies had engaged in policies that limited commercial engagement with the fossil fuel industry, which paid a whopping $ 769 million in taxes to the West Virginia state government.
“We’re not going to pay for our own destruction, we’re not subsidizing it,” West Virginia state treasurer Riley Moore told FOX Business in an interview. “They used our tax dollars as a weapon against the very people and industry that generated it to begin with. That’s why we are rejecting this ESG movement.”
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He noted that US Bancorp has lifted its fossil fuel lending ban and, as a result, has been kept off the state’s shortlist of financial institutions.
Moore’s action, a one-of-a-kind response to the ESG push from major banks, will likely be the first of many similar actions nationwide. At least 15 Republican-led states, which collectively manage tens of billions of dollars in public funds, have proposed laws or policies that would similarly punish fossil fuel banks over the past year, according to a FOX Business analysis.
“We have indeed seen, frankly, capital arming from some of the largest banks and fund managers in the world,” Derek Kreifels, CEO of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), told FOX Business. “If you want to bring about social change in this country, we have a democratic process that you should use to do that.”
SFOF has assembled a “NATO-like alliance” of state treasurers and financial officials who are committed to conveying free-market policies, Kreifels added. The group and its members have particularly focused on ESG issues in recent months, engaging with the federal government, banks and S&P Global, a credit rating agency that awards ESG scores.
A dozen state financial officials contacted by FOX Business applauded the West Virginia banking restriction and confirmed that they were preparing their own response to the “woken banks”.
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“The agency is continuing to process the information we received from the companies we contacted for more information, as well as finalizing our process to identify suitable candidates for the Texas list,” a spokesman for Texas controller Glenn Hegar.
Hegar is assembling a list like that of West Virginia in accordance with a bill passed by the Texas legislature last year. As part of the effort, Hegar sent letters to 19 financial institutions in March asking for clarification on their fossil fuel investment policies.
In addition to Texas, state financial officials from Kentucky, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, and North Dakota said they would take or consider action against boycotting banks. energy companies. Kentucky and Oklahoma, like Texas, are compiling lists as required by recently passed state laws.
“These industries are economically integral to Kentucky,” a spokesman for Kentucky state treasurer Allison Ball told FOX Business. “They provide jobs for Kentucky citizens, fuel commuters and the supply chain, and keep the lights on. We want to support these distinctive industries.”
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“We hope we’ve sent the message that if you don’t do business with Kentucky, we won’t do business with you,” the spokesperson added.
Oklahoma state treasurer Randy McDaniel’s office, meanwhile, is researching best practices from states with similar laws before moving forward, a spokesperson said. The Oklahoma lawmaker passed the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act which requires McDaniel to create and maintain a list of financial companies that boycott energy companies, but the law won’t go into effect until November.
“For years, the cult of ESG economic activists has been working overtime to infuse unwanted and awakened ideologies into the American economic system because they know their social policies would not pass the voter sniff test,” said Jimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Florida Officer July 27. “It’s anti-American, anti-liberty, a deliberate attempt to subvert our democracy and not in the best interests of Florida business, retirees or investors.”
South Carolina state treasurer Curtis Loftis told FOX Business that he has warned banks that he opposes ESG standards. He noted that his office is taking related measures which will be announced “in due course”.
“I represent citizens of Palmetto State, not those of out-of-state or international activists and institutions,” Loftis said. “I will not allow these rich and powerful elites to supplant the voices of our citizens and the decisions of their elected representatives.”
Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee added that her office will determine future partnerships based on whether the companies “represent American values,” not the ESG rating system. You blamed the increase in pump prices and wider inflation in the Biden administration’s “ESG agenda”.
Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder said he will work with the state legislature to ensure banks whose policies are harmful to Louisiana “are eliminated from business opportunities in our state.”
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“Treasurer Ellsworth believes Idaho’s fiduciary duty is to the shareholder and not to the unelected stakeholders who pressure financial institutions to reduce lending to those they believe to be a disadvantaged company or state through the use of ESG criteria, “Idaho State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth Affair told FOX.
“Idaho is steadfast in protecting all of our industries, including our diverse natural resources companies,” the spokesperson continued.