Fifteen state financial officers sent a letter to U.S. banks last week noting $600 billion in assets they pledge to take elsewhere if the financial institutions embrace corporate wokeism and prohibit financing to the fossil fuel industry.
Led by West Virginia Republican Treasurer Riley Moore, the group promised “collective action” in the form of an “economic boycott.”
“Just as each state represented in this letter is unique in its governing laws and economy, our actions will take different forms,” they wrote in the letter obtained by The Federalist. “However, the overarching objective of our actions will be the same – to protect our states’ economies, jobs, and energy independence from these unwarranted attacks on our critical industries.”
Signatories to the letter putting banks on notice include chief financial officers from Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alabama, Texas, and Kentucky, in addition to West Virginia.
“How can we as states get dollars from severance taxes and then park it in banks that are at the same time trying to diminish those dollars by trying to boycott our industries?” Moore said in an interview with The Federalist. “This is just more of the same from these woke capitalists, globalist interests out there when it’s them trying to dictate to us the way we need to live our lives.”
Asked why more states haven’t joined the letter, considering at least 22 state financial offices are run by Republicans, Moore said it was a consequence of standard hesitancy.
“I do believe there are going to be more states that are going to join this coalition effort. I think they want to see a little bit of how this plays out,” Moore said. “How long are we just going to take it in the face and not do anything?”
President Joe Biden has been aggressive in quickly curtailing oil and gas development as promised on the campaign trail. Beyond the illegal suspension of new leases on federal land, the prohibition of new drilling sites on major untapped reserves, and higher fees in the pipeline for new energy exploration permits, however, it’s the administration’s pressure on Wall Street to refuse investment in the capital-intense industry that’s dealt the biggest blow to producers, spiking prices at the pump in the process.
“We can’t get capital because they’re putting so much pressure on banks not to lend to us in the name of climate change,” explained Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Denver-based industry trade group Western Energy Alliance.
Biden’s nominee for an important regulatory role at the Treasury Department however, shows no sign of an administration easing up on Wall Street. Cornell Law Professor Saule Omarova, who was tapped to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has said she wants fossil fuel industries to “go bankrupt.”
If confirmed, Omarova would lead an agency tasked with “ensur[ing] banks and federal savings associations operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.”
Considering the administration’s crusade against fossil fuels, it’s conceivable Omarova would weaponize the department to deter investment in an industry vilified by Democrats as single-handedly destructive to the planet.
In 2017, Omarova already urged Congress to delegate a “golden share” responsibility to federal agencies, which she defined as “a wide range of legal arrangements giving the government special, exclusive, and nontransferable corporate-governance rights in privately owned enterprises.”
State financial officers who are engaged in the tug-of-war with the Biden administration wrote in their letter last week their taxpayers would not tolerate public funds being managed by institutions that destroy economies and Americans’ health in the name of climate change.
“We have a compelling government interest when acting as participants in the financial services market on behalf of our respective states, to select financial institutions that are not engaged in tactics to harm the very people whose money they are handling,” they wrote. “Any financial institution that has adopted policies aimed at diminishing a large portion of our states’ revenue has a major conflict of interest against holding, maintaining, or managing those funds.”