Texas Lawmakers Target Energy Discrimination

Texas Lawmakers Target Energy Discrimination
The legislation would prohibit companies that divest from, boycott, or sanction the fossil fuel industry from doing business with the State of Texas.

A pair of Texas legislators have filed legislation to prohibit companies that divest from, boycott, or sanction the fossil fuel industry from doing business with the Lone Star State.

“This bill sends a strong message – if you boycott Texas energy, Texas will boycott you,” according to a March 15 written statement from the office of Texas State Sen. Brian Birdwell, author of Senate Bill (SB) 13 – the Oil and Gas Protection Act.

Texas State Rep. Phil King filed similar legislation, House Bill (HB) 2189, in the state’s lower chamber. Both Birdwell and King are Republicans.

The proposal would require the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts “to prepare and maintain a list of all companies that refuse to deal with, or otherwise penalize another company because the company invests in or assists in the exploration, production, utilization, transportation, sale, or manufacturing of fossil fuel-based energy,” Birdwell’s office stated. “This list is then provided to the state agencies that invest funds, who in turn send a letter to the listed companies informing them that they are subject to divestment if they do not stop boycotting energy companies within 90 days.”

State agencies must sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly traded securities of companies that fail to lift their boycotts within the 90-day period, the state senator’s office continued. The measure would not apply to indirect holdings managed by investment funds or private equity funds, it added.

“SB 13 further states that a governmental entity may not enter into a contract with a company for goods or services unless the contract contains written verification from the company that it does not boycott energy companies and will not boycott energy companies during the term of the contract,” Birdwell’s office noted.

Texas’ Comptroller serves as the state’s chief tax collector, accountant, revenue estimator, treasurer, and purchasing manager, according to the agency’s website. The website also points out the office awards and manages hundreds of statewide contracts for more than 200 state agencies and 1,600 cooperative purchasing members.

“Companies that divest from Texas’ energy resources … should not be compensated with our tax dollars,” commented Jason Isaac, a former Texas state lawmaker who serves as director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s “Life:Powered” energy initiative. “Texas is proud to be leading the way as states fight back against the energy discrimination that threatens our economy, national security, and way of life.”

To contact the author, email mveazey@rigzone.com.



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