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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Progressives call push to change Constitution "risky," Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire; new report compares ways NY can get cleaner air, help disadvantaged communities.

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Senate leaders advance a plan to avoid a government shutdown, an elections official argues AI could be a threat to democracy and voting rights advocates look to states like Arizona to rally young Latino voters.

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A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

Report: WV Taxpayers Burdened by Anti-Sustainable Investing Laws

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023   

West Virginia lawmakers are clamping down on corporations trying boost environmentally and socially responsible investing. A new report by EcoConsult Solutions finds their actions will likely cost taxpayers at least $9-million, and perhaps as much as $29-million dollars annually. Senate Bill 262, passed last year, restricts the state from investing in companies deemed to be energy boycotters. Among those boycotted include BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

Jim Kotcon, chair of the West Virginia Sierra Club, said restricting long-term financial investments in the form of bonds could end up costing residents and taxpayers by reducing the amount of money the state has for public services and programs.

"This appears to be an effort by the state government to help bail out the coal industry and to deny the real cost of climate change on West Virginia citizens," Kotcon said.

More than two dozen states are suing the federal government over a U.S. Department of Labor rule change on environmental, social and governance, or ESG, in workplace retirement accounts. The rule allows 401(k) providers to consider climate change and other issues when making investments.

Kotcon said environmental groups believe state investment funds should take into consideration environmental and social factors, especially since West Virginia communities are struggling to cope with increased flooding and extreme weather events driven by climate change.

"It has become sort of an extremist initiative," he said, "trying to penalize financial institutions that are attempting to do the right thing."

More than a dozen states so far have passed or have pending bills that would pull state funds from investments deemed to be adverse to the oil and gas industry, according to the report.


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