State Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks and State Auditor John Dougall joined state financial officers representing 15 states in an effort to stand up against the ongoing and growing economic boycott of traditional energy production industries by U.S. financial institutions.
A coalition of 16 State Treasurers, Auditors and Comptrollers has sent an open letter to banking industry officials notifying them that each state will take deliberate steps toward selecting financial institutions that have not adopted corporate policies to cut off financing for the coal, oil and natural gas industries. In Utah, the State Treasurer will perform an enhanced due diligence assessment of future financial services contracts with institutions that have publicly pledged to boycott traditional energy industries.
“Traditional energy plays an important role in Utah’s economy, particularly in rural Utah. Cutting off financing for businesses engaged in economically essential activities to advance a radical social agenda destroys livelihoods, increases costs and does little to advance the desire we all have to breathe cleaner air and improve the environment. Punishing these entities is antithetical to our nation’s capitalist system that has developed some of the greatest innovations in human history,” Treasurer Oaks said.
Auditor Dougall said “Utah is an all-of the-above energy state. Utahns expect reliable, low-cost energy with a continual push for cleaner air. Government should not be picking market winners and losers. Banks and investors should focus on the potential of companies to provide increased shareholder value, rather than favoring certain partisan agendas, particularly at the expense of shareholders. Energy companies of all types should have unfettered access to capital and lending markets.”
The letter makes clear that officials are not asking for special treatment for these industries, just that they be treated like any other legal business operating in the free market, without prejudice or preference.
“As clean energy technologies improve, the energy sector will naturally shift to cleaner energy sources. Preventing businesses engaged in economically essential activities from accessing capital is unnecessary and could even hinder clean energy development,” Treasurer Oaks said.
Earlier this year, media reports and a Congressional letter accused Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry of privately pressuring banks to cut off lending to traditional energy industries and instead divert that capital to alternative energy firms. Since that time, the Biden administration has issued guidance to the international multilateral development banks that intend to cut off capital investment in traditional energy projects around the world. In addition, the President has also nominated a candidate for Comptroller for the Currency – the position tasked with chartering and regulating U.S. banks – who has openly stated she would like to bankrupt coal, oil and natural gas companies.