Staff Report

NORTH DAKOTA - North Dakota State Treasurer Thomas Beadle today announced he has joined a coalition of 15 State Treasurers to speak out against apparent attempts by President Joe Biden’s administration to pressure banks and other large financial institutions into divesting from coal, oil and natural gas companies.

“Over the last decade we have made tremendous strides in developing our oil and natural gas resources and North Dakota has played a huge role in helping America become energy independent. This is important not only to our economy, but to our national security as well.” said Beadle. “This past winter showed us how important coal power is to our baseload energy needs and how crucial this infrastructure is. Any efforts to restrict financing and investment in our energy industry are severely misguided.”

Treasurer Beadle, along with his counterparts in other states, led by West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore, are speaking out following media reports that Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry has privately pressured banks to cut off lending for fossil fuel industries.

The group has sent a letter to Kerry outlining their opposition to these efforts and suggesting steps they might take to discourage financial institutions from participating in the Kerry-backed scheme.

“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 Treasurers wrote. “It is simply antithetical to our nation’s position as a democracy and a capitalist economy for the Executive Branch to bully corporations into curtailing legal activities.”

The Treasurers observed that cutting off lending to these industries, which are engaged in perfectly legal activities, would do substantial harm to their states’ economies, resulting in significant job losses.

“The coal, oil, and natural gas industries in our states are vital to our nation’s economy,” they wrote. “These industries provide jobs, health insurance, critical tax revenue, and quality of life to families across our country. As the Obama Administration’s War on Coal demonstrated, reckless attacks on the fossil fuel industry ultimately cut off paychecks for workers and take food off the table for hard-working middle-class families.”

In addition to West Virginia Treasurer Moore, Treasurer Beadle was joined on the letter by Alabama Treasurer John McMillan, Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan, Idaho Treasurer Julie A. Ellsworth, Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball, Mississippi Treasurer David McRae, Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Nebraska Treasurer John Murante, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, Oklahoma Treasurer Randy McDaniel, Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis Jr., and South Dakota Treasurer Josh Haeder.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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