Barclays PLC added to banned energy discrimination elimination list in Oklahoma


Oklahoma State Treasurer Todd Russ announced his office added another company to the Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Restricted Financial Companies List, which is published on the treasurer’s website and subject to revision annually, but not more than quarterly as needed. The announcement drew immediate reaction from those critical of his efforts.

During his continued efforts to implement state law, Treasurer Russ has determined that Barclays PLC is another financial company ineligible for state contracts because it has publicly committed to boycott fossil-fuel companies.

Barclays PLC set project restrictions with direct financial boycotts to ‘Energy Groups’ against any expansion or infrastructure projects. They are targeting coal mining and power companies stating that “from 2024 we will no longer provide project finance, or other direct finance to energy companies, for new upstream oil and gas projects or related infrastructure.” By January 2025, Barclays PLC “expect[s] all ‘Energy Groups’ to produce transition plans and decarbonization strategies” far exceeding Oklahoma’s requirements.

With these examples of extreme environmental investment strategies, his office will continue to thoroughly review financial companies doing business with the State of Oklahoma whose ESG policies commit to driving unattainable expectations and demands. Oklahoman’s tax dollars and State pension funds will not be used to sabotage the State’s vital fossil-fuel based industries, whether those strategies target current investment policies or long-term goals.

By law, the Treasurer is required to identify financial institutions that boycott energy companies. According to state law, 74 O.S. § 12002, ‘boycott energy company’ means:

Without an ordinary business purpose, refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with a company because the company:

  • engages in the exploration, production, utilization, transportation, sale, or manufacturing of fossil-fuel based energy and does not commit or pledge to meet environmental standards beyond applicable federal and state

The State Treasurer said in his announcement his office is committed to upholding the Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Elimination Act,

“The third installment of this list shows progress in the state contending with companies targeting Oklahoma industry and ultimately Oklahoma jobs,” said the Treasurer.

The Treasurer is also fighting a lawsuit filed by a retired state worker and former leader of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association who contends the enforcement of the law is harming state retirees and their pensions. Russ contends he is only enforcing the law adopted by the state legislature two years ago and signed into law by the governor.

A group called the Alliance for Prosperity and a Secure Retirement responded by saying the Treasurer continues to ignore the very real costs to Oklahoma taxpayers and retirees.

The group’s president, Tim Hill contended that the Treasurer’s aggressive use of the boycott list puts politics over pensions and performance.

“By including banks and asset managers that are among the largest investors in Oklahoma energy companies, Treasurer Russ has continued to pressure the Oklahoma Public Employee Retirement System to honor his anti-ESG blacklists, at an estimated cost of $10 million. This hurts the pension current and future retirees rely upon for their financial security.”

Hill contended that the state has evidence that blacklisting investment firms and banks has been “expensive for the state’s taxpayers and could result in financial setbacks for the state’s pension plans.”

He pointed to a recent study by the Oklahoma Rural Association which concluded the ban has cost taxpayers an estimated $185 million and nearly $11 month every month.

“Growing retirement and savings through the capital markets should always be focused on achieving the best returns for retirement investors. Politics of the kind being practiced in Oklahoma has no place in Americans’ investment decisions,” remarked Hill.