Treasurer Moore adds five companies to the state’s list of restricted financial institutions

CHARLESTON, WV (WVDN) – West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced today that he has released West Virginia’s first list of restricted financial institutions, deeming five financial institutions ineligible government banking contracts.

Treasurer Moore has determined that BlackRock Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. are engaged in boycotts of fossil fuel companies, according to a new state law , and are no longer eligible to enter into state banking contracts with his office.

“As Treasurer, I have a duty to act in the best interests of the State Treasury and our people when choosing financial services for West Virginia,” Treasurer Moore said. “Any institution with policies aimed at undermining our energy industries, our tax base and our labor market has a clear conflict of interest in handling taxpayers’ money.”

Earlier this year, Treasurer Moore recommended and lawmakers passed Senate Bill 262, which authorizes the Treasurer to publish the list of restricted financial institutions on its website and to disqualify any financial institution on the list of restricted financial institutions. state banking contracts. In preparing the List, the Office of the Treasurer reviewed publicly available environmental and social policy statements issued by financial institutions that are currently authorized to do business with its Office as approved state depositories or service providers. sweep accounts for state short-term funds.

Six financial institutions were initially identified as potentially engaged in energy company boycotts and received written notification. These institutions then had 30 days to submit additional information challenging their possible inclusion on the list of restricted financial institutions. All six institutions submitted responses, which the Treasurer considered alongside each institution’s public policy statements.

Of the six financial institutions initially noted, US Bancorp was not placed on the list because it demonstrated to the Treasurer that it has eliminated policies against funding coal mining, coal power and construction of pipelines of its policy on environmental and social risks.

“Each financial institution on the Restricted Financial Institutions List today issued written environmental or social policies that categorically limit business relationships with energy companies engaged in certain mining, extraction, or use of coal, rather than considering each company’s financial or risk profile,” Treasurer Moore said. “These policies explicitly limit commercial engagement with an entire energy sector based on subjective environmental and social policies.”

West Virginia collects hundreds of millions of dollars in severance taxes from coal and other fossil fuels each year, which is generally the third largest source of revenue for the state’s general revenue budget. In the last fiscal year, the nearly $769 million in severance taxes paid by coal, oil and natural gas companies accounted for 13% of the $5.89 billion in general revenue funds collected by the state – and that also does not include income and other taxes. from employment and economic activity generated by these fossil fuel industries.

A recent report released by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics found that in 2019, coal mining and coal-fired electricity generated $13.9 billion in total economic activity and supported nearly 33 000 jobs in West Virginia.

“While the ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ or ‘ESG’ movement may be politically popular in California or New York, financial institutions must understand that their practices are hurting people throughout West Virginia,” said the Treasurer Moore. “I simply cannot sit idly by and allow financial institutions working against critical industries in West Virginia to enjoy the very funds their policies are trying to diminish.”

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