Energy-producing states in America are fighting back against banks that are lining up against the economic lifeblood.
As major banks are supporting anti-fossil-fuel policies and so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, states such as West Virginia are refusing to do business with them.
“We’re not going to pay for our own destruction, we’re not going to subsidize that,” West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore told Fox Business recently.
West Virginia has put five financial firms — including BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase — into timeout, barring state agencies from doing business with them, because the banks all called for limiting their connections to the fossil fuel industry – a sector that paid $769 million in West Virginia state taxes.
Moore said the state is fighting fire with fire.
“They have weaponized our tax dollars against the very people and industry that have generated them to begin with. That is why we’re pushing back against this ESG movement,” he said, noting that U.S. Bancorp changed its tune of any such ban and stayed off the banned bank list.
This is how we beat ESG.
We will not sit by and let banks boycott the lifeblood of our state. Banks on the Restricted Financial Institutions will be banned from banking contracts with the state of West Virginia.
Props to US Bank for changing their policies – keep fighting! pic.twitter.com/eu8V58gvcg
— Riley Moore (@RileyMooreWV) July 28, 2022
West Virginia is the first to act but soon might have a lot of company.
Do you support this financial strategy by red states?
“We’ve really seen, frankly, a weaponization of capital by some of the largest banks and fund managers in the world,” said Derek Kreifels, CEO of the State Financial Officers Foundation. “If you want to make social change in this country, we have a democratic process that you should utilize to get that done.”
Kreifels said states are forming an alliance to flex their collective muscle.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has asked banks for their fossil fuel investment policies as Texas compiles a list in response to a new law.
Kentucky and Oklahoma also are compiling lists.
Officials in Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota are looking at ways to deal with banks that will not do business with the fossil-fuel sector.
“These industries are economically integral to Kentucky,” a spokesman for State Treasurer Allison Ball told Fox Business. “They provide jobs for Kentuckians, fuel commutes and the supply chain, and keep the lights on. We want to support these signature industries.
“We hope we have sent the message that if you won’t do business with Kentucky, we won’t do business with you.”
Said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis: “For years now, the cult of ESG economic activists has been working overtime to infuse unwanted, woke ideology into the American economic system because they know their social policies wouldn’t pass the sniff test from voters.
“It’s anti-American, anti-freedom — a deliberate attempt to subvert our democracy and not in the best interest of Florida businesses, retirees or investors.”
South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis said he will battle what he termed “out-of-state or international activists and institutions.”
“I will not allow these wealthy and powerful elites to supplant the voices of our citizens and the decisions of their elected representatives,” Loftis said.