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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Texas' Hegar: Notion that "our economy can completely transition away from fossil fuels" false

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On Tuesday, Texas comptroller Glenn Hegar announced the release of a blacklist of financial companies—such as BlackRock—that boycott energy companies, a move meant to discourage U.S. companies from fully divesting from Texas' fossil fuel-based energy industry.

“A diverse energy portfolio is necessary for Texas to meet our future energy needs, and a vibrant Texas oil and gas industry is a stabilizing force in today’s economic and geopolitical environment,” Hegar said in the press release from his office. “My greatest concern is the false narrative that has been created by the environmental crusaders in Washington, D.C., and Wall Street that our economy can completely transition away from fossil fuels, when, in fact, they will be part of our everyday life into the foreseeable future. A complete divestment of the industry is not only impractical and illogical but runs counter to the economic well-being of Texas and our citizens.”

The Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act, also known as Senate Bill 13, was passed during Texas' 87th Legislative Session in 2021; an Austin Journal report said. The act prohibits state investments in financial companies that boycott energy companies, and it requires the Comptroller of Public Accounts to maintain a list of such financial companies. In April, letters were sent to 19 firms on the list, warning them of Texas potentially halting investments should their boycotts continue. Such companies on the comptroller's Aug. 24 list include BlackRock, UBS Group, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and others.

State public entities are also required to divest, including the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the Texas Municipal Retirement System, the Texas County and District Retirement System, the Texas Emergency Services Retirement System, and the Permanent School Fund; the press release said. It is estimated that those entities collectively manage more than $325 billion in assets.

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