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Almost a dozen banks and asset managers have received a warning from the state of Kentucky that it could divest from them if they continue to boycott the oil and gas industry.
Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball said in a press release that “When companies boycott fossil fuels, they intentionally choke off the lifeblood of capital to Kentucky’s signature industries.”
“Traditional energy sources fuel our Kentucky economy, provide much needed jobs, and warm our homes. Kentucky must not allow our signature industries to be irreparably damaged based upon the ideological whims of a select few.”
Reuters reported that the Treasury has asked all state agencies to notify it of their holdings, both direct and indirect, in the 11 banks and financial services companies with a view to divesting from them in case the company boycotts the oil and gas industry.
According to the report, JP Morgan, Citi, and BlackRock are among the companies targeted by the Kentucky Treasury.
A host of U.S. states have targeted financial services majors for their ESG agenda which has effectively put them on a collision course with the oil and gas industry. Texas was the first to threaten the financial industry to pull out its money if it continues shunning oil and gas.
“The environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) movement has produced an opaque and perverse system in which some financial companies no longer make decisions in the best interest of their shareholders or their clients, but instead use their financial clout to push a social and political agenda shrouded in secrecy,” the state comptroller, Glenn Hegar said in August.
Several more states followed, prompting banks to deny any boycott of the fossil fuel industry even as they were being pressured by activist shareholders and NGOs to make ever more ambitious net-zero commitments, including through the divestment and refusal of finance for the oil and gas industry.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.