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Tipsheet

Another State Is Rejecting the Radical Left's ESG Push

The radical left's push to make ESG — environmental, social, and governance — key factors in decision-making for economic and other everyday considerations has finally met its match in several Republican-led states thanks to treasurers who are willing to take action to remove state funds from entities that are embracing ESG, such as BlackRock.

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On Tuesday, the Show Me State became the latest to divest from BlackRock over its "woke political agenda" as Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced that the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System (MOSERS) had sold off all public equities managed by BlackRock.

"This is the right thing to do for Missouri state employees who rely on the assets managed by MOSERS for their retirement," Treasurer Fitzpatrick told FOX Business on Tuesday morning. "Fiduciary duty must remain the top priority for investment managers—a duty some of them have abdicated in favor of forcing a left wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively, on publicly traded companies," he added. 

"We should not allow asset managers such as BlackRock, who have demonstrated that they will prioritize advancing a woke political agenda above the financial interests of their customers, to continue speaking on behalf of the state of Missouri," Fitzpatrick explained. "It is past time that all investors recognize the massive fiduciary breach that is taking place before our eyes, and do something about it."

Fitzpatrick is right to make sure that state employees have their assets managed by an entity that's focused on returns and future security, not leftist nonsense that kneecaps profitability in the name of woke virtue signaling. Among the areas in which ESG seeks to run amok is the left's so-called "green" transition — something the Biden administration has adopted at great cost to the American people and national security. The ESG-backing entities like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, are seeking to quicken the implementation of those disastrous policies by using the funds and shareholder rights of many Americans who are unwitting coconspirators in the ploy. 

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As RealClearFoundation Senior Fellow Rupert Darwall wrote recently, "Corporate and Wall Street ESG policies are another factor driving refinery closures, especially of facilities owned by European oil companies to meet punishing decarbonization targets that will effectively end up sunsetting them as oil companies." 

The Biden administration had a similar goal to decarbonize the U.S. power grid, but the Supreme Court struck down the EPA's attempt to do so on grounds the agency's bureaucrats lacked the authority reserved to members of Congress. As Darwell emphasized, "[i]f finalized as proposed, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed climate disclosure rules, with the strong support of the Biden administration, will heighten the vulnerability of U.S. oil and gas companies to climate activists and woke investors to force them to progressively divest their carbon-intensive activities, such as refining crude oil, and eventually out of the oil and gas sector altogether." 

That's what ESG-obsessed entities like BlackRock are trying to bring about, so kudos are due to Missouri and other states — such as Louisiana — for divesting in order to strip some of their power. 

The State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) praised Missouri's decision: "Treasurer Fitzpatrick is taking decisive action to protect the people of Missouri by divesting pension funds from BlackRock, who has weaponized ESG by pushing radical climate and social policies under the guise of an investment strategy," SFOF's CEO Derek Kreifels remarked. "BlackRock’s reckless agenda is robbing Americans of their retirement dollars and driving up costs from the gas pump to the grocery store."

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