West Virginia stands up for fossil fuels, bans major banks from state contracts over ESG policies

"We’ve offered woke financial institutions a choice: you can boycott fossil fuels, or you can do business with our state, but you can’t do both."


The state of West Virginia has barred four financial institutions from entering into state contracts due to their environmental policies, with potential contracts valued at tens of billions of dollars at stake. 

According to Fox News, the institutions affected are Citigroup, TD Bank, HSBC, and The Northern Trust Company. 

West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced the addition of these banks to the state’s Restricted Financial Institution List. This decision followed an assessment of the banks' environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies, which revealed their active involvement in boycotting the fossil fuel industry. 

"We’ve offered woke financial institutions a choice: you can boycott fossil fuels, or you can do business with our state, but you can’t do both," Moore said in a post on X. 

The move aligns with a 2022 state law aimed at resisting the sustainable investing movement, per Fox News. Institutions such as BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase & Co. are already on the Restricted Financial Institution List. 

"We are absolutely going to stand by our industries here in fossil fuels," Moore said in a statement to FOX Business. "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 state treasurer had previously warned the banks that they would be placed on the restricted list unless they revised their ESG policies or demonstrated that they were not boycotting fossil fuels. 

Two other banks, BMO Bank and Fifth Third Bank, were also cautioned but were ultimately not added to the restricted list as they showed their investment strategies did not involve boycotting fossil fuels. 

Moore commended these two banks for cooperating with the state to ensure fairness for critical industries in West Virginia and to uphold the principles of a free market. 

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