Texas’s state comptroller has started to increase demands that financial companies tell the state more details about their climate policies, in accordance with a law passed last June that prohibits the state from doing business with corporations that “boycott energy companies.
“We know some of these companies hold investments in oil and gas today, but what about the future?” Hegar said in a statement about the letters he sent last month. “Are they selling the hope of a ‘green’ tomorrow with promises to divest or reduce their fossil fuel exposure?”
The letter states that if these companies don’t respond within 61 days, it “will result in the presumption under Texas law that your company is boycotting energy companies.”
In the press release, Hegar waxes on “increasing energy prices resulting from artificial efforts to curb domestic energy production.” The law was first proposed in February 2021. Energy companies, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said last February, “are being treated a little bit like the state of Israel…That is what is happening in the oil and gas industry.”
In 2020, Republican members of Congress sent a letter to the Trump administration asking it help stop “financial institutions from discriminating against America’s energy sector.”
Polluting industries like natural gas producers and dairy farmers have also recently publicly complained about being “canceled.” And it looks like the funders behind Big Oil are excited about this line of rhetoric: in December, emails showed that the American Legislative Exchange Council was creating a template copy of the Texas law for other states to reproduce to “fight back against woke capitalism.”
Even when banks claim to promote green operations, they are supporting fossil fuel projects. Emails from Texas’s top climate-denying oil and gas regulator published in March suggest that BlackRock executives reassured him of its commitment to the industry during a January meeting. Meanwhile, climate resolutions put before shareholders at Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs this week all failed spectacularly.