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It is abundantly clear that the big banks and other financial institutions don’t take their socially-responsible and environmental commitments all that seriously. West Virginia, however, takes them very seriously. Cut of your its nose to spite its face seriously. So he’s gonna help all those tree-hugging bankers and money managers at BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo reduce their carbon footprints by sparing them what we’re sure have been tremendously enjoyable visits to Charleston and Morgantown.

[Treasurer Riley] Moore said those contracts would be wound down by the end of the year and that the state would begin looking for new service providers that did not have policies targeting the coal industry…. “We’re handing money over to a financial institution that is generated from the fossil fuel industry,” he said. “At the same time, they’re trying to diminish those funds. There’s a clear conflict of interest there.”

This seems like a good use of time for the treasurer of a state with a 17.4% poverty rate, reducing competition for state contracts and eliminating some of the most competitive and presumably cheapest players from its market. That definitely won’t increase the tax burden on the roughly 1.8 million (out of 1.81 million) West Virginians who don’t work in the coal industry. (We’re sure JPMorgan will really miss that $46 million.) And, of course, Moore isn’t totally opposed to conflicts of interest when it comes to making sure those West Virginian’s pensions aren’t even more underfunded than they currently are.

The law does not affect the holdings of the West Virginia pension system.

Notably, Credit Suisse is still permitted to do business with West Virginia, which means losing the governor $700 million is still an OK thing to do.

West Virginia Punishes Banks That It Says Don’t Support Coal [NYT]
West Virginia bars five financial firms for deemed fossil fuel 'boycotts' [Reuters]

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