Kentucky Threatens To Divest From Left-Wing ESG Firms

Kentucky treasurer Allison Ball (R.) / Getty Images
January 4, 2023

Kentucky's state treasurer is putting financial firms that boycott energy companies on notice, declaring the state will divest from the firms unless they reverse those policies.

Treasurer Allison Ball (R.) on Tuesday published a list of 11 firms that boycott energy companies. Those firms will have 90 days after receiving notice of their presence on the list to end the boycotts, or the state will direct its government entities to divest holdings from the firms, according to Ball's announcement.

Kentucky is the latest state to threaten divestment from companies that pursue environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policies, which compel the firms to boycott companies they perceive to be insufficiently dedicated to increasing diversity or protecting the environment. States such as Florida and Arizona have directed their asset managers to divest billions of dollars from those firms.

"When companies boycott fossil fuels, they intentionally choke off the lifeblood of capital to Kentucky's signature industries," Ball said. "Traditional energy sources fuel our Kentucky economy, provide much needed jobs, and warm our homes. Kentucky must not allow our signature industries to be irreparably damaged based upon the ideological whims of a select few."

Financial firms listed by Kentucky on Tuesday included BlackRock, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase. A coalition of 19 Republican attorneys general in August warned BlackRock that the company risked breaking the law through its ESG policies by prioritizing left-wing causes over shareholder returns.