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Washington, D.C. – Across the U.S. and around the world, communities are being hit hard by severe weather events due to climate change. As the country experiences record-breaking heat, extreme early-season wildfires and hurricanes, and other dangerous weather events, self-serving politicians are doubling down on their anti-ESG rhetoric and efforts to dismantle responsible investing. 

In Eastern Texas, Hurricane Beryl made history last week as the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record in the Atlantic. The hurricane has devastated Texas communities, and has left millions without power to face scorching temperatures. This past weekend, the Western U.S. region was engulfed by a record-breaking heatwave that has so far led to seven heat-related deaths and brought on serious safety warnings over a majority of the region. In California over the past two weeks, several wildfires have ravaged tens of thousands of acres of land and forced residents to evacuate. 

“Both the human impact and the financial cost of recent extreme weather events across the U.S. are severe, and yet self-serving politicians in the pockets of billionaires continue to threaten our environment with their attacks on responsible investing,” said Kyle Herrig, spokesperson for Unlocking America’s Future. “State lawmakers have an obligation to protect the safety and economic security of their constituents, and they should not be focused on appeasing their wealthy donors from the oil and gas industry.” 

Here is how lawmakers in leading anti-ESG states are doubling down on their attacks against responsible investing: 

Texas: Texas legislators are working hard to enforce  responsible investing  bans  SB13 and SB19, which have cost the state nearly $700 million in lost economic activity to date. 

  • Since the laws went into effect in 2021, Texas public entities have been forced to divest from financial institutions that practice responsible investing, resulting in a loss of over 3,000 full-time, permanent jobs.   
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have together taken at least $57 million in combined lifetime campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. 
  • Advocacy groups representing the oil and gas industry continue to push misinformation about the bills, most recently demonstrated by American Energy Institute ‘Carbon King’ Jason Isaac’s op-ed in the Dallas Express News last week. 

Oklahoma: Oklahoma lawmakers are engaged in a contentious battle to push through the state’s highly controversial anti-ESG law, the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act (EDEA), after it was temporarily blocked by a district court judge. 

  • The law is estimated to have cost state municipalities $184.7 million in additional expenses in the first 17 months of implementation and placed some of the world’s largest financial institutions on a blacklist for contracts with state agencies and political subdivisions.
  • Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, who is leading efforts to enforce the EDEA, has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. 

Florida: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a new measure formalizing a complaint process for organizations claiming they have been “debanked,” creating a pathway for extreme advocacy groups to use taxpayer resources to attack financial institutions that engage in ESG practices. 

  • The measure was couched into a broader financial bill, HB 989, after its standalone version, SB 1018, stalled in the state Senate.
  • Gov. DeSantis specifically called out the bill’s benefits to organizations like the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a group notorious for its anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Muslim work. 
  • The Florida Governor, who has taken millions in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry, touted the move as a step to “reject a global elite trying to force their ideology on us by capturing major institutions.”