As often happens when the legacy media attempts to represent conservative beliefs, the Dallas Morning News’ hot take on Texas’ new energy discrimination law — claiming it “betrays free-market principles” — predictably misses the mark.
Senate Bill 13, signed into law by Gov. Abbott last year, is the ultimate free-market solution to the dangerous precedent being set on Wall Street. Financial firms are trying to bully America’s responsible energy producers out of business in the name of the Paris Agreement, a foreign document that isn’t even law. And they aren’t just limiting our energy resources — they’re putting our tax dollars in jeopardy in the process.
Here’s how it works: under the new law, financial institutions that boycott, divest from or sanction the fossil fuel industry are ineligible to do business with the state of Texas. Every company is free to run its operations however it sees fit. They can freely engage in so-called sustainability initiatives, offer “green” investment funds, and make any perceived environmental or climate commitments they choose. But if they deliberately pursue anti-energy investing practices that harm our state, we simply will not reward them with control of Texans’ tax dollars.
Senate Bill 13 is the pro-business, pro-taxpayer, pension protection approach to Wall Street’s senseless energy discrimination campaign.
This isn’t a new concept, and Texas isn’t alone in its concern that banks and investment managers may be prioritizing political agendas above their legal fiduciary duty. The legislation was modeled after existing laws prohibiting state contracts with companies that boycott Israel. Dozens of other states are considering similar legislation to SB 13 or have already withdrawn funds from companies like BlackRock that publicly endorse the anti-fossil fuel, climate alarmist narrative.
At the end of the day, SB 13 isn’t about fossil fuels, though. It’s true that oil and natural gas are a key component of Texas’ economy and thriving job market — and it’s worth noting that taxes on the energy industry make up more than 10 percent of the state’s budget. Energy is essential to everything we do — every transaction we make, every item we own, every societal structure we depend on for our high quality of life.
But what’s more important is that SB 13 protects Texans’ tax dollars from politically influenced mismanagement.
Texas’ state and local pension systems comprise more than $300 billion in assets — money that should be stewarded with the utmost caution and respect. Our public servants — that’s teachers, peace officers, fire fighters, paramedics, correctional officers, state and local employees — will depend on their pensions one day for survival. They deserve to know that their money is being managed well, and Texas taxpayers should never be left wondering if their investment in these funds is subject to political exploitation.
It would be difficult to defend the “Texas model” of liberty, limited government, and low taxes without protecting those taxes from waste and abuse by corporations colluding to push an agenda.
What most news reports about SB 13 miss is that the anti-fossil fuel investing movement known in financial circles as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing doesn’t just run contrary to the Texas state of mind. It likely violates several longstanding consumer protection laws.
Federal law explicitly prohibits corporate conspiracies to restrain competition. That’s exactly what Wall Street is doing — going far beyond mere political posturing to create a cartel, colluding to de-bank and discriminate against the energy industry. Their efforts to instead funnel investments into funds labeled “green,” without evidence these funds will provide the same return on investment, flies in the face of fiduciary obligations. Their clients should know their financial interests are the number one priority, but under ESG investing, the climate alarmist agenda is given equal or greater footing. It’s an affront to the free market, and Texas is proud to lead a strong and growing coalition of states fighting back.
It’s unfortunate the media and leftist organizations are fixated on SB 13’s focus on fossil fuels, because Texas’ commitment to the free market means the same provisions could, and should, be extended to any industry targeted by the ruthless cancel culture mob. The system of capitalism that made our state and nation so great depend on it — as do Texas taxpayers.
Perhaps SB 13 should have been called the Texas Taxpayer Protection Act.