WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and other Republican committee members in urging Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to stop pressuring banks to make energy-related lending commitments. The letter comes ahead of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate.
“We are concerned by reports you have been pressuring banks to make extralegal commitments regarding energy-related lending and investment activities. These commitments would result in discrimination against lawful U.S. energy companies and their employees, higher energy costs for American consumers, and slower economic growth,” the senators wrote.
“In addition, we are equally concerned by the Biden administration’s related effort to create and impose new global warming disclosure requirements on companies without any explicit statutory authorization from Congress. Regardless of the policy merits, such requirements misuse financial regulators to achieve environmental goals and harm investors by undermining the quality and reliability of both accounting standards and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) existing corporate disclosure framework,” explained the senators.
“As marginal funding costs rise, energy companies will have two choices: raise the cost of their products or cut expenses, including by laying off employees. Eventually, they may be forced to do both. Unsurprisingly, these effects are likely to be borne by working class Americans. . . . Perhaps most disconcertingly, this self-harm will diminish America’s strategic advantage in fossil energy over adversaries but not meaningfully reduce global carbon emissions given that 90 percent of total emissions come from outside of U.S. borders, as you have recognized yourself,” they continued.
The senators also expressed concern that Biden will soon sign an executive order setting in motion a new mandate forcing publicly-traded companies to disclose non-material information on global warming:
“The apparent objective of this effort is not to protect investors, but to punish lawful energy companies by deterring lending to, and investment in, such firms,” the senators wrote.
Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.