CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore is leading West Virginia and other states in challenging financial institutions considering reducing their investments in fossil fuels
Moore and 15 other officials sent a letter Monday to leaders of the U.S. banking industry, criticizing potential policies that would decrease financing for the coal, oil and natural gas industries.
According to the State Treasurer’s Office, the 16-state coalition represents more than $600 billion in public assets. The officials are reviewing financial institutions “engaged in boycotts of America’s traditional energy industries when awarding state banking contracts.”
“What I’d like to see the banks do is very simple,” Moore said on Tuesday’s “MetroNews Talkline.”
“Do what they typically do, which is assess risks and capital and decide whether they want to make a loan based on that or finance an operation based on that rather than pre-emptively denying even a conversation with coal gas or oil in this country.”
Moore argued there is a conflict of interest in having banks make these decisions while managing accounts of public agencies.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want any special treatment for the fossil fuel industry. We’re asking for no favors at all, not like renewable energy that gets all these free tax credits thrown at it. We don’t need any of that,” he said. “All we want is an even playing field for the fossil fuel industries here in the state of West Virginia and represented throughout the country that is on this letter with me in this coalition that I’m proud to lead.”
Moore said the letter is a warning against “unfairly boycotting” the fossil fuel industry. He added changes to rules and contracts may happen if financial institutions change their investments.
Moore did not say how much West Virginia has invested with these financial institutions, but noted the amount is in the “tens of millions of dollars.”
Moore announced a similar coalition in May; the group opposes the Biden administration’s efforts to encourage financial institutions to reduce investments in fossil fuels.