Tuesday, September 13, 2022

States are Fighting Back Against The Woke Wolves of Wall Street

by | Sep 8, 2022 | @ America Out Loud

In Joe Biden’s America, sky-high gas prices are not a problem as they are, in fact, a feature of his radical energy policies. He admitted as much when he said crippling gas prices were part of an “incredible transition“ that will make the world “less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”

In just 18 months, President Biden has transformed America from the world’s top oil and gas producer into a nation once again dependent on other countries. He rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, bowed to environmental extremists by canceling the Keystone Pipeline, and shut down oil and gas lease sales from our vast public lands and waters. It should come as no surprise that gasoline prices have nearly doubled since the day President Biden took office.

But Democrats in Washington are not the only ones waging war on American energy. Liberals in the private sector have proven that they are all too willing to play along. On Wall Street, major investment firms are rating companies based on their adherence to left-wing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values. Like the social credit scores issued by the Chinese Communist Party, a low ESG score can be devastating, making it virtually impossible for a company to raise capital.

In effect, Wall Street liberals are succeeding where DC liberals have failed: shutting down entire industries that offend their radical values. It is time that we stop underwriting these efforts with taxpayer dollars.

Many states have had enough and are beginning to fight back against the Woke Wolves of Wall Street. West Virginia recently announced that Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and BlackRock will be banned from doing business with the state as a result of the companies’ pernicious ESG policies that punish the coal industry. All five companies had previously announced that they were drastically cutting investments in new coal projects.

Other states are also rising to the occasion. Already, the New York Times reports that Louisiana and Arkansas have joined West Virginia in pulling more than $700 million out of BlackRock. State treasurers in Utah and Indiana are demanding an end to the insidious practice of ESG. And state attorneys general, led by Mark Brnovich of Arizona and Doug Peterson of Nebraska, are pursuing Wall Street firms for possible antitrust violations and the illegal restraint of trade or commerce. This is a perfect description of the tactics inherent to ESG.

The fact is, the left’s war on energy is both hypocritical and destructive. It’s hypocritical because it’s not really about saving the environment – otherwise, these massive Wall Street financiers wouldn’t be investing billions of dollars in China, the world’s largest polluter. And it’s extraordinarily destructive to American workers, families, and businesses – all of whom depend on affordable, reliable energy to power homes, vehicles, and our entire economy.

Republicans have long been castigated as the party of big business and the country club, but the left’s obsession with offshoring energy jobs hurts America’s working class the hardest. Our federal, state, and local governments should not be bankrolling businesses that hurt America’s backbone.

States with large employee pension funds invested in the stock market would be well advised to reign in massive investment firms that are pushing a radical ESG agenda. State and local governments should entrust their money to managers that don’t work against their citizens’ best interests. States should also pass model legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council requiring government pension fund managers to vote the state’s shares, rather than delegating that authority to Woke Wolf of Wall Street firms.

Every state in the union should follow West Virginia’s example and give Wall Street a simple choice: either serve the interests of our citizens, or take your business elsewhere. Mike Pence, the former United States Vice President, is right in his desire to battle the woke promoters of ESG on Wall Street.

Dr. Jay Lehr

Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

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