“While the ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ [‘ESG’] movement might be politically popular in California or New York, financial institutions need to understand their practices are hurting people across West Virginia,” Treasurer Moore said. “I simply cannot stand by and allow financial institutions working against West Virginia’s critical industries to profit off the very funds their policies attempt to diminish.” [15 States Have Signed On] [Texas & West Virginia Ask Blackrock’s Fink To Step Down]
Riley Moore at @ 1:10 timestamp
Riley Moore takes on ESG Financial Agenda
Anti-Fossil Fuel Policies Make Restricted Institutions Ineligible for State Banking Contracts
West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced he has published West Virginia’s first Restricted Financial Institution List, deeming five financial institutions ineligible for state banking contracts.
Treasurer Moore has determined that BlackRock Inc. (https://www.weforum.org/organizations/blackrock-inc), Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(https://www.weforum.org/organizations/the-goldman-sachs-group-inc), JPMorgan Chase & Co.(https://www.weforum.org/organizations/jpmorgan-chase-co), Morgan Stanley (https://www.weforum.org/organizations/morgan-stanley) and Wells Fargo & Co. (https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/corporate-responsibility/goals-and-reporting/) are engaged in boycotts of fossil fuel companies, according to a new state law, and are no longer eligible to enter into state banking contracts with his Office.
“As Treasurer, I have a duty to act in the best interests of the State’s Treasury and our people when choosing financial services for West Virginia,” Treasurer Moore said. “Any institution with policies aimed at weakening our energy industries, tax base and job market has a clear conflict of interest in handling taxpayer dollars.”
Earlier this year, Treasurer Moore recommended and lawmakers passed Senate Bill 262, which authorizes the Treasurer to publish the Restricted Financial Institution List on his website and disqualify any financial institution on the List from state banking contracts. In preparing the List, the Treasurer’s Office reviewed publicly available environmental and social policy statements published by financial institutions that are currently authorized to do business with his Office as approved state depositories or sweep account providers for the State’s short-term funds.
Six financial institutions were initially identified as potentially engaged in boycotts of energy companies and provided with written notice. These institutions then had 30 days to submit additional information disputing their potential inclusion on the Restricted Financial Institution List. All six institutions submitted responses, which the Treasurer reviewed alongside each institution’s public policy statements.
Out of the six financial institutions initially noticed, U.S. Bancorp was not placed on the List because it demonstrated to the Treasurer that it has eliminated policies against financing coal mining, coal power and pipeline construction activities from its Environmental and Social Risk Policy.
“Each financial institution placed on the Restricted Financial Institution List today has published written environmental or social policies categorically limiting commercial relations with energy companies engaged in certain coal mining, extraction or utilization activities, rather than considering the financial or risk profile for each company,” Treasurer Moore said. “These policies explicitly limit commercial engagement with an entire energy sector based on subjective environmental and social policies.”
West Virginia annually collects hundreds of millions of dollars in coal and other fossil fuel severance taxes, typically representing the third-largest revenue source for the state’s General Revenue Budget. During the most recent fiscal year, the nearly $769 million in severance taxes paid by coal, oil and natural gas companies accounted for 13 percent of the $5.89 billion in General Revenue funds collected by the state – and that does not include income and other taxes also collected from the employment and economic activity these fossil fuel industries generate.
A recent report published by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics found that in 2019, coal mining and coal-fired power generated $13.9 billion in total economic activity and supported nearly 33,000 jobs in West Virginia.
Treasurer Moore has determined that BlackRock Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. are engaged in boycotts of fossil fuel companies, according to a new state law, and are no longer eligible to enter into state banking contracts with his Office.
Yesterday, the state treasurer of West Virginia formally barred his state from conducting business with five major financial institutions because, according to him, “[e]ach financial institution . . . has published written environmental or social policies categorically limiting commercial relations with energy companies engaged in certain coal mining, extraction or utilization activities . . . . These policies explicitly limit commercial engagement with an entire energy sector based on subjective environmental and social policies.”
This action by West Virginia is unsurprising; the legislature of West Virginia had enacted a law at his urging enabling this sort of boycott, and his office had issued letters about six weeks ago to six financial institutions demanding an explanation for why they should not be barred from conducting business with the state of West Virginia. (Although six institutions had been targeted originally, one–U.S. Bancorp–was removed from the list because it “demonstrated to the Treasurer that it has eliminated policies against financing coal mining, coal power and pipeline construction activities from its Environmental and Social Risk Policy.”) That said, this action is the first occasion when a state has formally announced the termination of its relationship with major financial institutions based upon the companies’ support of policies intended to combat climate change.
It is likely that this action by West Virginia is merely the first salvo in an escalating cascade of efforts by red states–including major fossil fuel producers, such as Texas and Oklahoma, which already have the statutory authority to do so–to penalize major companies that are adopting efforts to disengage from the fossil fuel industry (particularly coal production). Several Republican-led states have been advocating these efforts, including Florida, where Governor DeSantis recently proposed that financial firms managing the state’s pension funds be prohibited from considering environmental factors when making investment decisions. These political efforts could ultimately culminate in a bifurcation of the marketplace between companies willing to embrace environmentally-conscious principles, and those that deliberately market themselves by their refusal to do so.
West Virginia Restricted Financial Institutions List
West Virginia State Bill 262
Treasurer Moore Leads Coalition of 15 State Treasurers to Oppose John Kerry,
Biden Administration Attacks on the Fossil Fuel Industry
Treasurer Moore was joined on the letter by:
Alabama Treasurer John McMillan
Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee
Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan
Idaho Treasurer Julie A. Ellsworth
Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae
Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick
Nebraska Treasurer John Murante
North Dakota Treasurer Thomas Beadle
Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague
Oklahoma Treasurer Randy McDaniel
Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity
South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis Jr.
South Dakota Treasurer Josh Haeder
West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced he is leading a coalition of 15 State Treasurers against the Biden administration’s attempts to pressure banks and other large financial institutions into divesting from coal, oil and natural gas companies.
The Biden plan, if enacted, would financially cripple these industries and damage the livelihoods of thousands of West Virginians.
“The American economy is built upon free markets and the free flow of capital,” Treasurer Moore said. “This administration’s attempts to go around the law and bully banks into pulling financing from fossil fuel companies is downright anti-capitalist and un-American. This is the kind of heavy-handed social pressure in the service of central planning we have come to expect from Communist China, not the freest country in the world.”
The group has sent a letter to Kerry outlining their opposition to these efforts and suggesting steps they might take to discourage financial institutions from participating in the Kerry-backed scheme.
“As a collective, we strongly oppose command-and-control economic policies that attempt to bend the free market to the political will of government officials,” the Treasurers wrote. “It is simply antithetical to our nation’s position as a democracy and a capitalist economy for the Executive Branch to bully corporations into curtailing legal activities.”
The Treasurers observed that cutting off lending to these industries, which are engaged in perfectly legal activities, would do substantial harm to their states’ economies, resulting in significant job losses.
“The coal, oil, and natural gas industries in our states are vital to our nation’s economy,” they wrote. “These industries provide jobs, health insurance, critical tax revenue, and quality of life to families across our country. As the Obama Administration’s War on Coal demonstrated, reckless attacks on the fossil fuel industry ultimately cut off paychecks for workers and take food off the table for hard-working middle-class families.”
The Treasurers said they will closely monitor which financial institutions bow to Administration pressure. Moreover, the Treasurers further pledged to respond in the best interests of their constituents.
“As the chief financial officers of our respective states, we entrust banks and financial institutions with billions of our taxpayers’ dollars,” they wrote. “It is only logical that we will give significant weight to the fact that an institution engaged in tactics that will harm the people whose money they are handling before entering into or extending any contract.”
“We just saw in Georgia what happens when a liberal mob can’t get its policies passed through legal means, so they resort to the bullying tactics of ‘woke capitalism’ to get their way,” Treasurer Moore said. “As Treasurers, we are sounding the alarm to say if these people try to push their radical agenda in a way that harms our states, we will act to protect our economies and our people from the harmful effects of the woke mob.”
EXCLUSIVE: West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore Joins Calls For BlackRock CEO Larry Fink To Resign
West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore became the second state chief financial officer to call on BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to step down.