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Republican AGs poll major banks over Biden-backed ‘zero emissions’ pledge

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“The last thing Americans need right now is corporate activists helping the left bankrupt our fossil fuel industry,” Texas AG Ken Paxton said.

FILE PHOTO: A combined file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archives. REUTERS/File Photos

Reuters • October 19, 2022 2:40 p.m.

(Reuters) – A group of attorneys general from U.S. states, including Arizona and Texas, have sent civil investigation demands to the country’s six largest banks, alleging their environmental, social and governance-related practices (ESG) are hurting the US energy industry.

Republican-led states have stepped up attacks on what they see as a woke bias by financial companies. Asset manager BlackRock Inc and investment research firm Morningstar Inc have also been targeted in recent months.

Attorneys general are asking the banks for documents about their involvement in the United Nations’ Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), according to their statements on Wednesday.

The NZBA is a group of banks “committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050”, according to the UN’s website.

The investigation targets JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Wells Fargo & Co and Morgan Stanley.

“American banks should never put political agendas ahead of the secure retirement of their customers,” Arizona AG Mark Brnovich said in a statement.

“The last thing Americans need right now is corporate activists helping the left bankrupt our fossil fuel industry,” Texas AG Ken Paxton said, adding that the banks’ practices potentially violate human rights law. consumer protection laws.

JPMorgan declined to comment, while the other five banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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