Candidate for Wyoming Governor Fires Back at Bank's Fossil Fuel Divestment

August 13, 2018 AT 10:02 AM

By Nick Reynolds

Wyoming State Treasurer and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Gordon has fired back at the Bank of the West following its decision to pull its investments from the fossil fuel industry, impacting millions of dollars in public monies managed by the bank.

The decision comes one day after the bank announced it would divest itself from all businesses involved in the production, exploration and distribution of natural gas and coal – industries that account for approximately one-quarter of Wyoming’s overall GDP and roughly 70 percent of the state’s taxable revenue. Anticipated to be a major blow to the state’s energy-centric economy, the announcement was immediately characterized by U.S. Senator John Barrasso as a politically motivated and “fashionable” decision made by the San Francisco-based bank done without consideration for the state of Wyoming and its economy.

Bank of the West joins a growing share of firms in the financial sector that are divesting themselves from fossil fuels. But it also bucks a trend set by industry leaders: between 2016 and 2017, funding by the world’s largest banks in fossil fuels increased by approximately 11 percent, according to the Sierra Club.

In a response to the announcement from the treasurer’s office Thursday morning, Gordon stated that the state of Wyoming was now, in effect, closed for business, and that he would deny any applications from the bank to place “certain state funds” into their institution.

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