The (Martinsburg) Journal-News published this editorial on May 29:
It’s not been too many years back that we recall the late Robert Murray, founder and longtime leader of Murray Energy Corp., telling us of how then-President Barack Obama’s administration was pushing the nation’s large financial institutions to stop lending to energy companies — particularly those companies that mined coal.
While that effort by the Obama Administration didn’t immediately bear fruit, it seems that President Biden and his administration are now back at the tree with the watering can. But this time it’s not just coal mining that’s in their sights; it’s also oil and natural gas.
The revelation on the administration’s latest war on sources of reliable energy that power the nation came from Politico, which reported that Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing banks in the U.S. to focus more on climate change mitigation. Part of that effort is subtle pressure for banks to stop lending to companies that extract energy from the ground — coal, oil and natural gas.
West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore is one of 15 state treasurers calling out the Biden Administration for its tactics.
By itself, a group of 15 state treasurers — many from smaller, energy-rich states — wouldn’t have enough clout to make a difference. To swing the pendulum, though, the treasurers are threatening to pull their holdings —a combined $600 billion in pension plans and other state assets — from banks that succumb to the administration’s tactics.
“... We strongly oppose command-and-control economic policies that attempt to bend the free market to the political will of government officials,” Moore said. “We refuse to allow the federal government to pick our critical industries as losers, based purely on President Biden’s own radical political preferences and ideologies.
“We intend to put banks and financial institutions on notice of our position, as we urge them not to give in to pressure from the Biden Administration to refuse to lend to or invest in coal, oil, and natural gas companies.”
That’s a strong stance, and one that Moore and the other 14 treasurers need to stand firm on in the coming years.
Coercion from the White House should not be used to influence a bank’s lending activities. But that’s where it appears we are today.
We applaud Moore for standing up against the continued federal energy overreach and urge him and other state treasurers to stand firm against Biden’s growing big government machine.