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West Virginia bars JPMorgan, Wells, Goldman from new state contracts


Dive Brief:

  • West Virginia said Thursday it would no longer award state business to JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and asset manager BlackRock over the companies’ decisions to cut back on financing to coal companies.
  • A state law passed this year gives West Virginia’s treasurer, Riley Moore, the authority to create a list of restricted financial institutions. Moore warned the five companies — and U.S. Bank — last month they would be placed on the list in 45 days if they could provide proof that they weren’t “boycotting” fossil fuels. The companies all disputed the notion of a boycott, and some noted they face criticism from activists who assert they do too little to fight climate change.
  • U.S. Bank avoided being put on the list, Moore said, because it eliminated policies against financing coal production. A bank spokesperson said it was pleased to not be excluded from the state, but that its policies were in place before West Virginia passed its law.

Dive Insight:

West Virginia’s action comes as Republican lawmakers in a dozen states have advanced bills promising similar powers. Texas, for example, has passed laws blocking banks from doing business with the state if it determines they discriminate against energy companies or gun makers…

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