The clock is ticking until companies are blacklisted for not doing business with the state
The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office contacted six financial institutions on June 10 regarding alleged violations of its new law to prevent banks from boycotting the energy sector.
These institutions are BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, US 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, follows a 2021 Texas law prohibiting 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 suspected of boycotting energy companies.
BlackRock controls over $10 trillion in assets, making it the largest asset manager in the world.
In recent years, she has gained attention for her role in promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles through her influence in the US private sector.
“You have to force behaviors, and at BlackRock we force behaviors,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said during a 2017 New York Times roundtable with then-American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault.
Fink was responding to a question about BlackRock’s internal diversity mandates.
More recently, in a 2020 letter to CEOs, he wrote that “we will be increasingly willing to vote against management and directors when companies do not make enough progress on sustainability-related disclosures and best practices. and business plans that underpin them”.
Fink also asserted that “companies, investors and governments must be prepared for a significant reallocation of capital” due to climate risk.
The June 10 letters from the Treasurer’s Office marked the start of a 45-day period before the list was officially released.
Financial institutions and banks have 30 days from receipt of the letters to prove that they are not boycotting energy companies. Otherwise, they will go on the list.
West Virginia law allows the Treasurer to remove in-state tender boycotters, as well as similar mechanisms the state uses to do business with financial institutions. It also allows the treasurer to require that the institutions with which he deals renounce any boycott of the energy sector during any contract with the State.
“We felt like we had a clear conflict of interest,” West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore said at a June 8 news conference, explaining why Section 262 was proposed. “We produce coal, gas and oil, and this ESG movement in its current form is truly an existential threat to our jobs, our economy and our tax revenues. I had to do something to start fighting this.
Others have argued that additional support for the industry runs counter 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 pump oil like crazy, and we have to go long term [fossil fuel] building infrastructure, which would be absolutely disastrous,” U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said June 7 at the Time 100 gala, as reported by Yahoo News.
Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and US Bancorp declined to comment The Epoch Times.
The Epoch Times also contacted the other financial institutions named in the letters, but did not receive a response by press time.
The letters can be read via the following links: Wells Fargo FOIA, US Bancorp FOIA, Morgan Stanley FOIA, JP Morgan FOIA, Goldman FOIA and BlackRock FOIA.