Financial groups divesting from fossil fuels may face a boycott in Texas due to a law passed last year that says if financial organizations divest from fossil fuels then they can't conduct business with the state, NPR reports.
Ivan Frishberg, chief sustainability officer at Amalgamated Bank in New York, told NPR that part of the reason for the push to divest from fossil fuels is because "banks and asset managers are modeling capitalism and free markets and moving money away from things that we know are inherently risky and to where the market wants it."
Former state Rep. Jason Isaac, who leads the think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which NPR notes opposes attempts to combat climate change and receives large amounts of money in donations from groups with an interest in fossil fuels, wrote a model bill that he gave to state legislators.
That bill was eventually signed into law last year, and the Texas comptroller's office is reportedly working on a list of companies that the state may boycott due to its provisions.
Isaac defends the law as "a responsible way to push back that says, Look, if you're going to be anti-Texas, then you're not going to get to do business with Texas." However, former New York State Comptroller Tom Sanzillo told NPR that this sets "a very bad precedent."
Sanzillo, who currently works for the fossil fuel divestment-supporting Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, added that during his time in office he would push back against attempts by legislators to interfere when it comes to investment.
"Whether we liked it or didn't like it, we would oppose it," he told NPR. "Because the legislature and the governors should have no say in the running of the fund."
He went on to say that this decision could put the state's money in peril, noting that although gas and oil prices are high at the moment, they haven't given a good return on investment in several years.
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