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State Treasurer Riley Moore today called on S&P Global Ratings to end its new, politically subjective Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings scheme for states and their political subdivisions and return to issuing credit ratings based on valid, objective financial metrics.

“This new ESG rating system is just the beginning of a new wave of judging states – and their people – not by valid financial metrics, but by the preferred political views and outcomes of a select global elite,” Treasurer Moore said. “The ESG movement is nothing but a slippery slope whereby our states and our people will be forced to bend the knee to the woke capitalists or suffer financial harm.”

S&P Global Ratings is one of a select group of firms that issue credit ratings to various public and private institutions. These ratings affect the borrowing costs and investment-grade status of the underlying company or government agency.

Recently, S&P Global announced that in addition to their standard, objective financial credit ratings, they would begin to issue ESG ratings based on new criteria created by the company. S&P Global issued their first ESG scorecard for U.S. states and territories on March 31.

West Virginia – which consistently has had high investment grades on traditional ratings scales – received a negative Social score, a moderately negative Environmental score, and a neutral Governance score under the new ratings system. S&P cited the state’s declining demographics, loss of mining jobs and less reliance on renewable energy sources as reasons behind the negative outlooks.

“S&P’s ESG scores fly in the face of the remarkable financial turnaround we’ve seen at the state level in recent years,” Treasurer Moore said. “From a true financial perspective, our state is in outstanding shape, so it’s ridiculous that S&P would now introduce these politically subjective metrics to try and paint our state in a negative light.

“So despite our state’s excellent financial position, our taxpayers could now be punished with higher borrowing costs simply because S&P doesn’t like our state’s industries and demographic profile,” Treasurer Moore said. “This ratings scheme will affect our state and its municipalities, and begs the question: at what point will this stop? Will individuals soon get ESG ratings as part of their credit scores? Where will it end?

“This ESG crusade being perpetrated by the liberal elites must be stopped, and it’s time that West Virginia and other states band together to fight back against the financial harm these radicals are trying to inflict upon our states,” he said. “Hopefully S&P and other credit ratings agencies will come to their senses and halt the use of these subjective, unnecessary ESG ratings schemes and maintain a strict focus on the financial metrics that actually matter.”

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