By: Treasurer David McRae
Between the energy it takes to run our manufacturing facilities and the energy it takes to cool our homes during the hot summer, it should come as no surprise that Mississippi has one of the country’s most energy-intensive economies. In fact, we are among the top five states when it comes to the amount of energy required to produce $1 of GDP, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
As such, I couldn’t sit by and watch when Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry started privately pushing banks to cut off lending to the fossil fuel industry – a move that could spike energy costs across the state.
This May, I joined Treasurers from 15 states to condemn the Biden administration’s actions. We explained: “we strongly oppose command-and-control economic policies that attempt to bend the free market to the political will of government officials. It is simply antithetical to our nation’s position as a democracy for the Executive Branch to bully corporations into curtailing legal activities.”
In addition to being a violation of America’s free-market principles and capitalist system, the Biden administration’s secret pressure campaign could jeopardize jobs and increase Mississippi’s energy costs.
Most directly, a hit on fossil fuel companies is a hit on the families they employ, as workers rely on the industry’s strength for jobs, health insurance, and a better quality of life.
But the impact goes well beyond a single industry. Less accessible financing will increase costs for energy providers; those inflated prices will be passed to their consumers. Especially as job creators and families are fighting their way back after the pandemic, now is not the time to hike our energy bills.
We’ve seen this happen before. When the Obama administration launched a War on Coal, the reckless attacks ultimately cut off paychecks for workers and took food off the tables of hard-working, middle-class families. We can’t let that happen again.
While I will continue to pressure the Biden administration to make decisions that benefit Mississippi workers, I will also closely monitor which financial institutions bow to John Kerry’s demands. To put it plainly for those John Kerry has reportedly approached: The people of Mississippi will remember if you work against our families and economy.
Mississippi is fighting to overcome the challenges of a post-pandemic economy. We cannot tolerate unnecessary burdens that make recovery more difficult and threaten the free-market, capitalist system that made this country great.