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Republican-led state bans four major banks in blow to ESG movement

via CNBC

The State of West Virginia banned four major banks – Citigroup, TD Bank, HSBC and Northern Trust – from state contracts worth tens of billions due to their environmental policies.

State Treasurer Riley Moore added them to the Restricted Financial Institution List for boycotting fossil fuels, in accordance with a new state law.

“We are absolutely going to stand by our industries here in fossil fuels,” Moore said. “Last year, the world burned more coal than any time in human history. The consumption of coal is not going down. That is a myth that is proliferated by the climate-activist left. So, why would we put ourselves in a position to not be part of that?”

The four banks join others like BlackRock and JPMorgan that remain restricted due to their ESG strategies.

Moore argues ESG divestment from oil and gas hurts West Virginia and contradicts rising global energy demand.

“I applaud both of these institutions for working with us in a cooperative way to ensure the free market remains free and our state’s critical industries are treated fairly,” Moore said.

While some restricted banks say they do not prohibit fossil fuel investment, Moore aims to ensure free market access for the state’s industries.

His expansion of the restricted list represents an escalation in West Virginia’s opposition to the sustainable investing movement.

“Northern Trust does not restrict or prohibit investment in fossil fuel-based energy companies,” a Northern Trust spokesperson stated.

“We seek to work with – not boycott – energy companies,” an HSBC spokesperson said. “Our policies anticipate that we will continue to provide corporate lending and capital markets transaction support to energy-based customers to both maintain supplies as well as support an orderly and just transition that helps with the creation of new jobs. We are supportive of energy companies throughout the U.S., whom we are pleased to have as clients.”

“SFOF has highlighted again and again how ESG investments are a losing proposition,” State Financial Officers Foundation CEO Derek Kreifels said.

“By adding another four banks to its restricted financial institution list, West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore is continuing to lead the charge in the fight against ESG,” Kreifels added. “I applaud Treasurer Moore for standing up against ESG activism. He has our full support.”

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