By Terri Jo Neff |
A partisan effort to make it harder for fossil fuel-based energy companies to obtain bank financing and banking services prompted a warning letter to the U.S. banking industry on Nov. 22 from the top financial officers of several states, including Arizona.
“Denying banking services to traditional, reliable energy production industries simply to advance radical, socialist policies from the White House, is both immoral and goes against the very free market principles that our country was founded upon,” said Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee in announcing the letter. “In this case, they are picking the energy industry as the losers and that goes against the free marketplace in America.”
Yee joined the financial officers of Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming in signing the letter, cautioning the banking industry of potential consequences for allowing itself to be used as a political pawn against law-abiding companies in the coal, oil, and natural gas industries.
According to the letter, the Biden Administration is “pressuring U.S. banks and financial institutions to limit, encumber, or outright refuse financing for traditional energy production companies.” The White House is also supporting an end to American financial support for traditional energy production projects in developing countries around the world, “likely ceding future development and exploration to Chinese interests,” the letter states.
“We believe, as almost all Americans do, that the free market should remain free and not be manipulated to advance social agendas,” the letter states. “We are not asking for special treatment of the fossil fuel industries. To the contrary, we simply want financial institutions to assess fossil fuel businesses as other legal businesses – without prejudice or preference.”
The letter also says the states have a compelling government interest “to select financial institutions that are not engaged in tactics to harm the very people whose money they are handling.”
Each state will undertake its own actions to counter the “undue pressure” being placed on the banking industry, according to the letter. Yee has not outlined what steps her office might take if financial institutions which do business with the state engage in efforts to deny services to the energy industry.