OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that would require Oklahoma to divest from any financial company that boycotts the energy industry has been signed into law.
House Bill 2034, also known as the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022, does just that.
“Oklahoma is the state that fossil fuels built. If you are boycotting them, the state is not going to do business with you,” said Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore.
Supporters of HB 2034 point out even as the auto industry and the state move toward electric vehicles, fossil fuels will still be needed for things like plastics and energy in weather emergencies.
However, opponents say this bill stands in the way of capitalism.
“We are supposed to be a free market society aren’t we? Let the big oil and gas interests take care of themselves,” said Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa.
Opponents worry fewer bids will lead to higher costs for the state, but supporters say that hasn’t played out that way in Texas where they have passed similar laws.
“Oil and gas is the backbone of our state’s economy, and it’s crucial that we do all in our power to fully support this industry,” Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro said. “I’m proud to have carried this measure that will make our state free of discrimination against the fossil fuel industry, and am glad my colleagues see the importance of standing up against corporations that put political ideology ahead of the interests of our taxpayers, shareholders and residents.”
The bill requires the state treasurer to maintain and provide to each state governmental entity a list of financial companies that boycott energy companies.
The state governmental entity must then notify the treasurer of the listed financial companies in which they own direct or indirect holdings.
They also have to send a written notice to the financial company, warning that it may become subject to divestment.
Officials say a state governmental entity must rid itself of at least 50% of the assets of a listed financial company within 180 days of the financial company receiving notice and 100% of the assets within 360 days.
The measure takes effect Nov. 1.