18 January 2024- State Treasurer Riley Moore today applauded a decision by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to withdraw its proposal to allow for the public listing of Natural Asset Companies (NACs).
“The nationwide opposition over NACs attempting to diminish the economic prosperity of America’s land and dismantle the energy industry has resulted in a significant victory for West Virginia and our country,” Treasurer Moore said. “I’m proud to have once again joined with a strong coalition of state leaders to win another victory for our people.”
On January 17, the NYSE filed a notice to withdraw its initial proposal to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to permit the formation of NACs.
Developed by the Intrinsic Exchange Group, NACs are climate-focused corporations that are designed to convert natural assets into financial capital by taking over land owned by private entities and individuals, and the federal, state and local government. According to the NYSE’s original proposal to the SEC, NACs will “have the authority to manage the areas for conservation, restoration or sustainable management” and are prohibited from engaging in fossil fuel-related developments.
Treasurer Moore joined a coalition of 26 Treasurers and State Financial Officers from 23 states to submit a comment letter to SEC Secretary Vanessa Countryman on January 17, condemning the creation of NACs. Following the submission of the comment letter, the NYSE halted its pursuit to publicly list the climate-focused investment vehicle.
“As state representatives, we have a duty to protect our citizens from detrimental policies,” Treasurer Moore said. “Similar to ESG investing schemes, NACs would have imposed radical environmental guidelines on the market by implementing unprofitable and arbitrary business practices.
“We couldn’t allow our land to be thrown into a stranglehold by foreign interests and individuals who push anti-fossil fuel rhetoric, such as George Soros, to force their climate agenda and squander our nation’s energy resources.”
The letter cited three main areas of concern, stating that while NACs are private entities, they “make a business out of reducing economic activity; rely on untested methods of accounting; and present serious national security concerns.”
Additionally, officials stated in the letter, “Our concerns with this proposal are many. However, the fatal flaw underlying the concept under consideration is the attempt to create economic value from processes not backed by economic activity.”
Last month, Treasurer Moore joined a national coalition of state officials to express their concerns on this issue. On September 29, 2023, the SEC revealed a rule change to permit the formation of the new climate-focused investment vehicle. Initially, following the announcement of the new rule change to permit the listing of NACs, the SEC only allowed 21 days for public comment. Treasurer Moore and 23 state officials signed onto a letter on December 20, 2023, requesting the SEC reopen the comment period, stating the provided comment period was “unusually brief.”
Upon receiving opposition for the abbreviated comment period, the SEC delayed its decision and extended the period through January 18, 2024.
Over the last three years, Treasurer Moore has championed multiple efforts to oppose ESG investment schemes. In November 2021, Treasurer Moore announced a 15-state coalition of state Treasurers and financial officers who have committed to reforming their state banking contract process to prohibit awarding state banking contracts to financial institutions that are engaged in boycotts of America’s traditional energy industries.
The following January, Treasurer Moore became the first state official to divest roughly $8 billion from BlackRock over its ESG activism. He also created the nation’s first Restricted Financial Institutions List, which determined that five banks (BlackRock Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co.) are ineligible for state banking contracts due to their anti-fossil fuel policies.