West Virginia doubles down on anti-ESG stance with new bill targeting top financial firms

WV Treasurer introduces proxy voting bill to better protect resident funds from ESG investments

After going against five major financial firms for their anti-coal investments, West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore is doubling down on his stance by introducing a bill to better protect resident funds from environmental social and corporate governance (ESG) projects, which he discussed exclusively on "Mornings with Maria" Tuesday.


RILEY MOORE: It's one year ago, actually, I announced on your program that we had divested from BlackRock due to their boycott of the fossil fuel industry. Now, we've had several states, eight in total have actually followed our lead here in West Virginia. We've had now roughly over $5 billion in total divested across those eight states. And I think we're likely going to see Oklahoma come on board here soon. But at the end of the day, these folks, BlackRock certainly being the leader, has created artificial scarcity in the marketplace, which has driven up, obviously, energy costs and played a big part in driving inflation in our economy right now…

Larry Fink speaking on virtual interview

Larry Fink, chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc., speaks virtually during the Bloomberg Green Summit. (Getty Images)

So we are introducing a proxy voting bill in West Virginia. So this is going to mandate that our shares are voted in the best financial interest of our pension beneficiaries and any other investments that we have. There's going to be a prohibition on any proxy advisory firm voting in a way that is not in line with pecuniary factors - that's risk and return, maximization return. No ESG considerations can be taken into account. If they are, they are prohibited from being involved in our pension funds, in our investments. And if there is an ESG vote, something outside of those pecuniary factors that come up, they have to come to the board and ask us on the pension board how we would like them to vote... We're getting back control of this here in the state of West Virginia.