Economy and Society: State pension funds draw scrutiny for ESG

Ballotpedia cites Senior Fellow Richard Morrison’s blog post “Bipartisan Policy Center Highlights Concerns with SEC Climate Disclosure Rule” discussing Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)’s event:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Senior Fellow Richard Morrison published a roundup of congressional pushback against the proposed SEC rule mandating public company disclosure of environmental and sustainability data. The recent update is as follows:

“Skeptical members of Congress have begun weighing in on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent climate disclosure proposal, and their objections are significant. Earlier this week, letters went out from Republicans in the House and Senate urging the SEC to table or withdraw the new rule, which the agency initially released on March 21. The deadline for the public to submit comments on the proposed rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors,” is May 20, 2022.

The letters from House and Senate members cover similar territory, and include the following objections:

The SEC does not have statutory authority to issue this rule.

The rule would violate First Amendment protections against compelled speech.

Existing SEC regulation and guidance already cover relevant risk disclosures, including climate-related risks.

The rule would change the definition of “materiality” for the worse.

The proposed rule is a backdoor attempt at substantive climate legislation.

 The SEC does not have the technical expertise to evaluate the required submissions.

The rule will be extremely costly to firms and shareholders.

Small companies, not normally subject to SEC requirements, will be swept up under this rule.

This is the worst possible time for such a regulation, given inflation, high energy prices, and concerns about long-term economic growth….

Our nation’s lawmakers have decided that new laws in this area—and new powers for the SEC—are not needed and should not be approved. Members of Congress did not “forget” to authorize this approach; they made an affirmative decision not to do so….

Individual members of Congress are moving even further along with legislation that would stop the SEC from promulgating this proposal. As I wrote about earlier this week, Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) and a dozen co-sponsors recently introduced the Stopping Excessive Climate Reporting Act (H.R.7355), which would stop the SEC from requiring climate change and greenhouse gas disclosures, but leave companies free to share whatever such information they believed was material to shareholders and potential investors.

This increasing skepticism in Congress of environment, social, and governance (ESG) investing dovetails perfectly with policies that governors and legislators are advancing at the state level.”

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