GOP attorneys general try to block Vanguard from buying utilities over firm's climate change stance

Vanguard is a participant in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative – a commitment to "net zero greenhouse gas emissions."

Updated: November 30, 2022 - 10:52am

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GOP state attorneys general are taking legal action to prevent investment firm Vanguard from buying publicly traded utility shares over concerns that its climate change activism could raise prices and decrease energy reliability.

The 13 attorneys general, along with the nonprofit advocate Consumers' Research, argue in motions filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Vanguard should not be able to obtain blanked authorization to purchase public utility shares under the Federal Power Act because it advances decarbonization goals, the Daily Wire reported Tuesday.

"We took this action on behalf of American energy consumers because time and time again we see massive Wall Street firms pretending to ‘passively’ manage their shares," said Will Hild, the advocacy group's executive director. "But instead they use those assets to bully utility companies into adopting radical left-wing policies that drive up electric bills and risk the stability of our power grid."

Vanguard is a participant in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, which is a commitment to "net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner" through investments. 

Financial firms including Morningstar and BlackRock are also involved in prioritizing environmental, social and governance factors, also known as ESG, when making investments, critics say.

"Consumers across our country are already feeling the sting of skyrocketing electricity bills, and Vanguard’s request to extend its authorization, coupled with its commitment to imposing net-zero requirements on publicly traded utilities, would only increase these costs," Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron says.

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