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Red states intensify attacks on Wall Street over ESG

West Virginia state treasurer Riley Moore has opened another front in a campaign by Republican officials in the US against banks that promote ESG policies.

Coal sits in train cars on tracks in Grundy, Virginia
Photo: Reuters

Riley Moore frames his decision to place BlackRock and four major US banks on a list of financial institutions that are restricted from business with West Virginia as a move to get back to banking basics.

Moore tells Euromoney that the banks – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo – are mounting a concerted campaign against fossil fuel companies with their endorsement of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards that reduce financing to firms such as the coal miners that remain active in his state.

“My goal is that they all act like banks and assess risk and capital and not take politics into consideration,” Moore says. “How in the world could they all (fossil fuel firms) have the same risk profile?” he asks.

riley moore.jpg

“It seems to us to be politically motivated, and we are a fossil fuel state. This is a near-term existential threat to our tax dollars,” Moore continues. “Our goal at the end of the day is we want the free market to remain free.