Financial institutions

West Virginia financial institutions tussle over fossil fuel policies

Because of their fossil fuel policies, West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore said his office would bar the state from doing any new business with five financial institutions.

Moore listed BlackRock Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. as companies barred from signing new contracts with the state.

“As treasurer, I have a duty to act in the best interests of the state treasury and our people when choosing financial services for West Virginia,” Moore said. “Any institution with policies aimed at undermining our energy industries, our tax base and our labor market has a clear conflict of interest in handling taxpayers’ money.”

Several listed companies have publicly stated that they are limiting their support to coal customers.

“JPMorgan Chase will not provide loans, capital markets, or advisory services to clients deriving the majority of their revenues from coal mining,” JPMorgan Chase said in October 2021. “By the end of 2024 , we will also remove our remaining exposure to such customers.

Coal jobs have declined dramatically in recent years. In 1985, the federal government estimated that there were over 175,000 coal-related jobs in the United States. By June 2022, that figure had fallen to less than 40,000.

Federal data shows that the number of coal jobs in West Virginia has declined by more than 50% over the past decade. In 2011, 23,000 workers were employed in the coal industry in West Virginia, or 3% of the state’s workforce.

The coal industry now employs just over 1% of the state’s workforce.

The United States has largely transitioned from coal to natural gas and other methods of generating electricity. Until 2003, more than half of the electricity in the United States was generated by coal, according to federal data.

Moore’s announcement comes as Democratic state Sen. Joe Manchin said he would support some Biden administration proposals to invest in green energy, which could further reduce state dependency. -United coal.