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Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is asking 19 major financial companies, including the world’s biggest asset manager and some of the top U.S. banks, whether they are boycotting the fossil fuel industry, as America’s largest oil-producing state seeks to clarify the financial institutions’ fossil fuel investment policies and procedures.
Texas has passed a new law, Senate Bill 13, which prohibits Texas state agencies that invest funds from investing in financial companies that boycott energy companies. The letter asking for clarification is part of Texas’s efforts to implement the bill by compiling a list of financial firms boycotting oil and gas.
“A company that fails to provide clarification 60 days after receiving this letter will be presumed to be boycotting energy companies,” the Comptroller’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.
The companies asked to clarify their positions on fossil fuel investments include the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, as well as JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, according to Reuters.
“Numerous companies and their leadership are pushing an environmental and social agenda that not only threatens the Texas economy and jobs, but also undermines national security. All of this comes at a time when Texas oil and natural gas should be playing a key role in supporting the American economy and providing security for our allies abroad,” Hegar said in a statement.
In January, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sent a letter to Comptroller Hegar “asking him to place BlackRock at the top of the list of financial companies that boycott the Texas oil & gas industry under Senate Bill 13, the Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act.”
Early this year, BlackRock said in a memo that it is and will continue to be an energy investor with $91 billion invested in fossil fuel companies in Texas alone. The asset manager looks to balance the message for Texas, following BlackRock’s increased focus on ESG.
Comptroller Hegar will send another round of letters soon to more than 100 other publicly traded investment companies that appear to have one or more funds boycotting fossil fuels.
“These companies will be asked to list all of their mutual funds and ETFs that refuse to invest in fossil fuels. Responses collected from these entities will help finalize the Comptroller’s list of companies that boycott the fossil fuel sector,” the Comptroller’s office said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.