Miners Dig-In Against ESG

By Ted Dieck | Recruiter’s View - ESG - Tilt Studies | Aug 4, 2022

West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore announced, last week, that he will bar ESG lenders from doing business with the state of West Virginia.  This is big. 

In a brilliantly phrased letter dated November 22, 2021, West Virginia and 14 other states gave fair warning to ESG lenders… 

“…we will be taking collective action in response to the ongoing and growing economic boycott of traditional energy production industries by U.S. financial institutions.”

“We have a compelling government interest… to select financial institutions that are not engaged in tactics to harm the very people whose money they are handling” 

West Virginia was joined in the letter by 14 additional states, totaling more than $600 billion of financial services business… 

  • Arizona, 
  • Arkansas, 
  • Idaho, 
  • Louisiana, 
  • Missouri, 
  • Nebraska, 
  • North Dakota, 
  • South Carolina, 
  • South Dakota, 
  • Utah, 
  • Wyoming, 
  • Alabama, 
  • Texas, and the 
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

At the heart of the complaint… 

“Any financial institution that has adopted policies aimed at diminishing a large portion of our states’ revenue has a major conflict of interest against holding, maintaining, or managing those funds.” 

Moore Warnings

Jordan Wolman ran a solid interview with Moore in Politico on March 30, 2022:  “The state treasurer sticking it to banks.”

In that interview, Moore said, 

“…what I have here in West Virginia is a clear conflict of interest, where we generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue from coal and gas specifically, and now I’m going to hand those dollars over to a financial institution that wants to end those industries. That’s a clear conflict of interest. We want to do business with folks who want to do business with us.”

Well, They Did It 

Each state will handle its ESG complaints in its own way, under its own laws; but it appears West Virginia fired first, as the month of July came to a close. 

On July 28, WV Treasurer Riley Moore made his announcement on The Glenn Beck Program, blocking five of six major institutions from doing business with the state of West Virginia.  

He said his first take was focused on the near-term existential threat.
His November, 2021 letter went out to 6 banks.
All responded.  

Only one agreed to change their ESG policies. 

Now on the Restricted Financial Institution List…  

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Wells Fargo
  • Black Rock
  • Morgan Stanley

They are barred from bidding on all state contracts, including
Universities; Dept. of Health and Human Resources; all of it. 

“We contract out everything.  $18 billion every year.”
These banks won’t be invited to bid on any of that. 

Importantly, the one bank that changed their policy to no longer boycott lending to the fossil fuel industry… 

  • US Bank

As Moore says, we’ll Trust but Verify.

Next steps, Moore’s team will review the handling of… 

  • Pension funds
  • Proxy voting

Recruiter’s View

West Virginia is the first to push back.  This appears to be the first substantial rejection of The World Economic Forum’s ESG attack on the US economy. 

Prospects for the entire fossil fuel industry are greatly improved.