Clock is ticking until firms are placed on blacklist from doing business with the state
The Epoch Times can name six financial institutions that the West Virginia State Treasurer’s office contacted on June 10 regarding alleged violations of its new law aimed at stopping banks boycotting the energy sector.
They are BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo.
The treasurer’s office provided the names on June 13 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Epoch Times.
West Virginia’s S. 262, which passed in March 2022, comes on the heels of a Texas 2021 law restricting the state from investing in funds that boycott energy companies because of any ties to fossil fuels.
It authorizes the state treasurer to prepare a list of restricted financial institutions believed to be boycotting energy companies.
BlackRock controls more than $10 trillion in assets, making it the world’s largest asset manager.
In recent years, it has attracted attention for its role in promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles through its influence in the U.S. private sector.
“You have to force behaviors and at BlackRock we are forcing behaviors,” said CEO Larry Fink during a 2017 New York Times panel discussion with Kenneth Chenault, then CEO of American Express.
Fink was responding to a question about BlackRock’s internal mandates on diversity.
More recently, in a 2020 Letter to CEOs, Fink asserted that “we will be increasingly disposed to vote against management and board directors when companies are not making sufficient progress on sustainability-related disclosures and the business practices and plans underlying them.”
He also claimed that “companies, investors, and governments must prepare for a significant reallocation of capital” due to climate risk.
The June 10 letters marked the start of a 45-day period before the list will be officially published.
The banks have 30 days from receipt of the letters to show they are not boycotting energy companies. Otherwise, they will go on the list.
West Virginia’s law lets the treasurer remove boycotters from competitive bidding in the state as well as similar mechanisms the state uses to do business with banks.
It also allows the treasurer to require that banks with which it transacts forego any energy sector boycotts during the course of any contract with the state.
“We felt like we had a clear conflict of interest,” said West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore when explaining, during a June 8 press conference, why S. 262 was put forward.
“We produce coal, gas, and oil, and this ESG movement in its current form is really an existential threat to our jobs, our economy, and our tax revenue. I had to do something to start to push against this,” Moore said.
Others have argued that additional support to the industry runs contrary to an effort to transition from fossil fuels to solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources.
“You have this new revisionism suggesting that we have to be pumping oil like crazy, and we have to be moving into long term [fossil fuel] infrastructure building, which would be absolutely disastrous,” said U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry on June 7 at the Time 100 Gala, as reported by Yahoo News!
Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and US Bancorp declined to comment to The Epoch Times.
The Epoch Times has also reached out to the other financial institutions named in the letters.
The letters can be read through the following links: Wells Fargo FOIA, US Bacorp FOIA, Morgan Stanley FOIA , JP Morgan FOIA, Goldman FOIA, BlackRock FOIA.
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