Last week, West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced he would be targeting financial institutions pulling away from the fossil fuel industry, echoing a similar move from Texas’s comptroller. Naturally, these actions don’t exist in a vacuum and are a product of a concerted effort from state Republicans to pull the country further away from meeting its climate goals at the behest of the oil and gas sector. As the New York Times reports, nearly two dozen such officials are pulling these tactics on both state and federal levels. That includes officials in states like Louisiana and Arkansas, whose attorneys general signed onto the West Virginia v. EPA case as plaintiffs.
These actions range from state treasurers voicing their opposition to a proposed Security and Exchange Commission rule tackling environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns to those same treasurers outright targeting any firms who say they will decrease fossil fuel financing for the sake of sustainability concerns by way of laws passed against such measures. Were it not for West Virginia’s SB262 “relating generally to financial institutions engaged in boycotts of energy companies,” Moore would not be enforcing such measures.