West Virginia takes aim at SEC for new “Natural Asset Companies” listings and shortened public comment on rule change

27 December 2023- State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced he has joined a coalition of leaders from 22 states to oppose a new rule proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create Natural Asset Companies and request that the SEC reopen the public comment period.

On September 29, the SEC announced a rule change to permit the formation of Natural Asset Companies (NAC), a new investment vehicle proposed by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). According to the proposal, NACs are climate-focused corporations that “hold the rights to the ecological performance” for both public and private land.

Additionally, NACs will “have the authority to manage the areas for conservation, restoration or sustainable management” and will be prohibited from engaging in certain activities deemed unsustainable, such as traditional fossil fuel development and mining.

After announcing the rule change to permit the listing of NACs, the SEC only allowed 21 days of public comment period.

“We are deeply concerned over the abbreviated time provided for citizens and landowners who may not have had the opportunity to voice their concerns on how they will be directly impacted by NACs being publicly traded,” Treasurer Moore said. “As state leaders, we cannot stand by while our land and resources are locked up by climate activists on Wall Street who want to push their failed anti-fossil fuel agenda.”

Treasurer Moore joined a coalition of 23 Treasurers and State Financial Officers from 22 states to send a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler on December 20, requesting the SEC reopen the comment period and, according to the letter, “extend the decision deadline for an additional 60 days to ensure that interested parties are given the opportunity to provide feedback on this significant rule change.”

The letter also stated the provided comment period is “unusually brief and is insufficient, given the significance of the rule being considered.”

According to reports, the SEC anticipates making their decision on the proposed rule to allow NACs to be publicly listed by January 2.

“While it’s under a different guise, make no mistake that this rule getting fast-tracked is just another way for the Biden Administration and corporate elites to impose their radical environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment schemes on our people and critical energy industries,” Treasurer Moore said.

Since taking office, Treasurer Moore has led the way in the fight against the Biden Administration and their Wall Street allies’ radical climate agenda. 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 potentially curtail business with banks that are engaged in harmful boycotts of coal, oil and natural gas companies.