KY Warns Banks Against Boycotting Energy Firms
By: Ken Chase
The state of Kentucky officially put eleven financial firms on notice this week, vowing to act if those banks engage in boycotts of fossil fuel energy companies. According to Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball, the eleven firms must stop boycotting traditional energy producers or else the state’s government will no longer do business with those institutions.
Kentucky’s energy sector continues to employ nearly eight percent of the state’s workers. The state is ranked number seven in coal production across the United States and relies on coal for more than seventy percent of its electricity generation. Ball claimed in a Monday statement that she was acting to protect her state’s economy from being ravaged by financial firms that are pursuing a political agenda.
“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.”
She also told Fox Business that her state “refuses to fund the ideological boycotts of our own fossil fuel industry with the hard-earned taxes and pensions of Kentucky citizens.”
Kentucky’s warning comes on the heels of a state-level review of major financial firms’ climate and energy policies. That review found that eleven companies, including Citigroup, JPMorgan, and BlackRock, are currently engaging in a boycott of companies in the fossil fuel industry. BlackRock and JPMorgan have both denied any active boycott.
Kentucky’s legislature has passed legislation that mandates state government divestment from any financial firms that are deemed to be involved in discriminatory boycotts of traditional energy companies. That law is similar to legislation passed in a number of other states and is part of a broader effort to push back against the banking industry’s growing ESG efforts.
Consumers’ Research executive director Will Hild praised Ball’s leadership and called on the financial industry to change direction:
“It is past time for banks and money managers to abandon their war on American energy and hardworking people who literally keep the lights on across the country.”