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Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond fired his outside legal counsel last week after an Oklahoma district court judge temporarily blocked the enforcement of the state’s highly controversial anti-ESG law, the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act (EDEA). The law, which is estimated to cost municipalities $184.7 million in additional expenses in the first 17 months of implementation, placed some of the world’s largest financial institutions on a blacklist for contracts with state agencies and political subdivisions. Drummond blasted State Treasurer Todd Russ for hiring the legal team and blamed the firm for the court’s decision. 

This development is the culmination of a series of losses for state-level anti-ESG campaigns backed by Big Oil

After an Oklahoma district court judge issued a stay on the EDEA, self-serving lawmakers began scrambling to protect Big Oil with conflict breaking out among interested parties.

  • The legal challenge against the law was brought by a retired Oklahoma public servant concerned about the effects of anti-responsible investing policies on public pension funds. The law has already incurred millions of dollars in costs for the state, and taxpayers and courts alike are unhappy with the ban. Meanwhile, AG Drummond continues to double down on his harmful anti-ESG agenda. 
  • Pensions & Investments Key Point: “The cost of having to divest assets from firms perceived as hostile to the fossil fuel industry is “monumental,” the lawsuit contends, citing the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System, which would pay an estimated $10 million to divest assets from BlackRock and State Street, two of the state’s six blacklisted firms.”
  • The Oklahoman Op-Ed Key Point: “Enough of the political activism. Politicians and regulators should fight any restrictions that result in less competition, higher prices and lower returns. The politicization of investment strategies will only lead to harm.”

One week before the Oklahoma judge’s EDEA ruling, the 8th Court of Appeals ruled that 19 Democratic states’ attorneys general can defend the SEC’s new climate risk disclosure rule from legal attacks backed by Republican attorneys general and industry groups.

  • The St. Louis-based court accepted a motion to intervene in ongoing litigation challenging the SEC rule from a coalition of states interested in protecting climate risk disclosures. The U.S. 8th Circuit is currently scheduled to hear nine different lawsuits contesting the SEC rule, which is currently on pause due to the ongoing litigation battles. 
  • Reuters Key Point: “The Democratic attorneys general said in a brief filed April 3 that they have significant interests in defending the SEC’s rule because the disclosures will give their states better information as they manage over a combined quarter of a trillion dollars in public funds, including pensions.”
  • Bloomberg Law Key Point: “The Democrats filed their motion in connection with a challenge brought by an Iowa-led coalition of states with Republican attorneys general, who said the SEC exceeded its authority.”