Garrity to John Kerry: Hands off our energy industries

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June 7, 2021

In an attempt to curb the Biden administration’s attacks on the energy sector, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity and 14 other state treasurers recently sent a letter to John Kerry, the President Joe Biden’s climate czar, telling him to renounce a policy aimed at restricting access to financial resources for companies in the energy sector. These companies supply the country with coal, natural gas and oil.

“In general, there shouldn’t be political pressure on banks and financial institutions over how they invest,” Garrity said in an interview with the Delaware Valley Journal.

Asked about the importance of energy sector jobs to the Commonwealth, Garrity said, “The energy sector is incredibly important to Pennsylvania and I don’t think they should allow politics to stand in the way. to those high paying jobs for Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania businesses have been really, really affected by the pandemic and the arbitrary governor-no-fault closings of businesses. Why should they be more affected by (Kerry)? “

An American Chamber of Commerce in 2019 study Pennsylvania’s estimated shale drilling supports 609,000 jobs, $ 261 billion in state GDP, and $ 23.4 billion in state and local tax revenue.

A 2020 Public Services Commissioner report found that Pennsylvania received nearly $ 2 billion in sales the impact tax on natural gas since 2012. In 2019, counties and cities received $ 109.1 million for drilling; $ 72.1 million went to the Marcellus Legacy Fund for environmental, road, water and sewer projects, the rehabilitation of greenways and other projects; and $ 18.3 million was distributed to state agencies.

“We need coal for electricity,” Garrity said when asked about public sentiment against using this resource, which would contribute to climate change, for fuel.

The coal industry provides some 18,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state, $ 30,000 more per year than the average Pennsylvania job. And the Commonwealth is the third largest coal-producing state in the nation, after Wyoming and West Virginia.

the letter sent by Garrity and his fellow treasurers from West Virginia, Ohio, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota detailed their concern in Kerry, the presidential special envoy for the climate.

State treasurers have said the Biden administration’s backhanded pressure on US banks and other financial institutions to turn off the financial tap to energy companies “will discriminate against law-abiding US energy companies and their employees, hamper economic growth and will increase consumption costs “.

“As a collective, we strongly oppose command and control economic policies that attempt to bend the free market to the political will of government officials,” the letter reads. “It is quite simply contrary to our country’s position as a democracy and capitalist economy for the executive branch to intimidate companies into reducing their legal activities … We refuse to allow the federal government to choose our critical industries as losers,” purely on the basis of political preferences and ideologies.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and other Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee also pushed back on the Biden administration’s attempt to force banks to stop lending to energy producers. Senators called the administration to reconsider its policy. In their letter, the senators said Biden’s policies resembled the Obama administration’s “notorious scandal” of Operation Choke Point, in which financial regulators attempted to force banks to deny services to legal firms. but politically disadvantaged “.

“If the administration wants to ban or cut energy production from fossil fuels to achieve environmental policy results, it should not abuse financial regulators,” the senators wrote. “Instead, he should come to Congress and seek to have the law amended. Until then, we urge the Biden administration to refrain from abusing government power – through executive decree. , over-regulation or oversight, or informal pressure – to divert loans and investments. from legitimate energy companies. “

Meanwhile, state treasurers, who control some $ 600 billion in assets, said they would “inform banks and financial institutions of our position, as we urge them not to bow to pressure from the Biden administration to refuse to lend or invest in coal companies,” of oil and natural gas… It only makes sense that we will give significant weight to the fact that an institution engages in tactics that harm the people whose money it handles before entering into or extending a contract. “

At this last point, DVJ asked Garrity, “If it’s wrong for these financial institutions to pick winners and losers, what do you say to people who read this letter and say, ‘Well, looks like you? choose winners? and the losers? ‘”

“When we look at our large or very large contracts with our financial institutions, this is one of the many factors that could be taken into account,” said Garrity. “So it’s important to us, but it’s not the only one.”

At the time of going to press, state treasurers had received no response from the Biden administration.


The Delaware Valley Journal provides unbiased local reporting for suburbs of Philadelphia in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. For more stories from the Delaware Valley Journal, visit DelawareValleyJournal.com

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