Curtis Tate Published

Kentucky Sanctions Chase, BlackRock Over Fossil Fuels

JPMorgan Chase says it's having to put more money into reserve to cover bad loans.
JPMorgan Chase is one of the investment companies sanctioned by West Virginia and Kentucky for environmental investing practices.
Richard Drew

Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball published a list Tuesday of 11 financial institutions she has determined are engaged in a boycott of fossil fuels.

It overlaps with a list of five financial institutions flagged by West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore last summer.

BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase are on both lists. West Virginia’s list also includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. None of those three is on Kentucky’s list.

Kentucky’s list also includes Citigroup, HSBC and BNP Paribas, among others.

Both states’ legislatures last year passed bills aimed at denying state contracts to banks that are perceived to shun fossil fuel investments. It’s not clear how either state treasurer’s office made that determination for the financial institutions they listed.

Most banks have environmental, social and governance, or ESG goals.

Both states passed the law to protect their coal industry. Coal production and employment have fallen precipitously in Kentucky. As recently as 2011, Kentucky mines employed as many as 18,000 workers and produced 100 million tons of coal a year.

Now, coal mines employ fewer than 5,000 workers and produce only 25 million tons a year.

Kentucky, long the nation’s first or second coal producing state, has fallen to seventh.

The decline is largely the result of electric utilities switching from coal to natural gas.