GOP senators warn Biden administration on de-banking energy companies

Biden administration's objective is to 'punish lawful energy companies by deterring lending to, and investment in, such firms'

Senate Republicans wrote a letter to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry warning him to stop pressuring banks to make energy-related lending commitments. 

Kerry last month privately asked U.S. banks to make climate-friendly lending commitments that would be announced at President Biden’s Earth Day summit, according to reports. Part of Republicans’ motivation in sending the letter was to send a message to banks: stop your own leftward political shift and end discrimination against otherwise-solvent fossil energy companies, a source familiar with the matter told FOX Business.

Biden and 40 other world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, will gather Thursday for a virtual conference where the U.S. president is expected to announce commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half before the end of the decade. 

"We are concerned by reports you have been pressuring banks to make extralegal commitments regarding energy-related lending and investment activities," wrote Ranking Member Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and the other Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee. 

They said such commitments discriminate against lawful U.S. energy companies and would result in higher energy costs and slower economic growth.

The senators also expressed their concern regarding an executive order that Biden is set to sign that would require publicly traded companies to disclose non-material information on global warming. Companies must already disclose material information, including climate-related risks. 

"The apparent objective of this effort is not to protect investors, but to punish lawful energy companies by deterring lending to, and investment in, such firms," they wrote.   

Kerry at an International Monetary Fund meeting on April 7 said the executive order would seek to "change allocation of capital."

The senators compared the attempt to block energy companies from receiving capital to the Obama administration’s "Operation Choke Point" scandal that investigated banks and its business dealings with firearms dealers, payday lenders and other industries accused of being susceptible to money laundering and fraud. 

"If the administration wants to ban or diminish fossil energy production to achieve environmental policy outcomes, it should not misuse financial regulators," the GOP senators wrote. "Instead, it should come to Congress and seek to have the law amended."

Representatives for Kerry and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment. 


Biden, since taking office, has launched a frontal assault on the energy industry, signing a number of executive orders to "transition" the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels. 

Those orders included canceling the Keystone XL pipeline’s permit, initiating a temporary ban on new permits and leases for oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters and rejoining the 2016 Paris climate agreement, among other things. 

Biden, during his campaign, called New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal a "framework" for his energy policy.