Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced he has joined a coalition of 15 State Treasurers to speak out against apparent attempts by the Biden Administration to pressure banks and other large financial institutions to divest from coal, oil, and natural gas companies.
“While the pursuit of more renewable sources of energy is a noble cause, the fact is that fossil fuels remain critical to our country and the entire world.” Treasurer Fitzpatrick said. “The Biden Administration’s failure to acknowledge this will result in increased costs for consumers and businesses. An energy-independent America is vital for national security and strengthens our economy which impacts all Americans—especially our poorest citizens who feel rising prices at the gas pump and the checkout line most. Attempts to pressure financial institutions to cut off the fossil fuel industry amounts to nothing less than an abuse of power by the federal government and should not be tolerated by states. These backroom deals do not live up to the ideals of the American experiment and we should expect and demand more from those in Washington.”
The Treasurers, led by West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore, are speaking out following media reports that Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry has privately pressured banks to cut off lending for fossil fuel industries.
The coalition 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 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.”
In addition to West Virginia Treasurer Moore, Treasurer Fitzpatrick 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, 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., and South Dakota Treasurer Josh Haeder.
The Treasurers’ letter can be viewed at this link.