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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Joins Coalition Asking to Ensure Blackrock Disclosures in ESG Case

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Last week, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and a coalition of attorneys general filed a Motion for Leave to Reply to Blackrock Inc.’s and Public Citizen’s Answers opposing the States’ previously filed intervention. The legal response, before the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, continues the coalition’s efforts to intervene in FERC’s three-year reauthorization of Blackrock’s blanket authorizations to acquire over $10 million in voting securities of publicly traded utilities. 

These legal filings follow General Reyes’s appearance before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in Washington, D.C., last month, when he testified on the critically important issue of how Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factors are distorting the American financial system and harming consumers.  

Attorney General Reyes issued the following statement: “The reliability and security of our nation’s electric grid are on the verge of catastrophe because of the myopic and irresponsible push to net zero. This is not the time to allow so-called ‘passive investors’ like BlackRock to exploit unsuspecting Americans and jeopardize grid stability with its dangerous commitments to net-zero initiatives. Our coalition will continue to hold BlackRock and others like it accountable to federal and state laws and protect the interests of the constituents we serve.”

General Reyes and the coalition argue that, despite Blackrock’s expressed opposition, FERC should grant leave to file a reply considering the importance raised in the States’ Motion to Intervene and Motion for Relief Regarding Blackrock’s Blanket Authorizations, which was transmitted to the Commission last month. The coalition asserted that BlackRock violated § 824b(a)(2) of the FPA and FERC’s reauthorization for two independent reasons, each sufficient for relief.    

First, BlackRock is part of a “holding company” that has not received FERC’s authorization. BlackRock is a signatory to horizontal associations—including Climate Action 100+ (“CA100+”) and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (“NZAM”)—that coordinate shareholder voting power across their members to influence FPA-covered utilities’ operations.    

Second, Blackrock is not acting as “passive, non-controlling investors” as they represented in seeking authorization. FERC’s orders never allowed BlackRock to engage in activities that might influence the day-to-day operational decisions of utility companies. 

In the Reply to BlackRock and Public Citizen’s Answers, the States argue that the coalition has properly sought intervention and relief; that the Commission must consider the States’ claim that BlackRock has not complied with the representations it made when obtaining blanket authorization; and that the Commission must investigate whether CA100+ and NZAMI, including their members, are “associations” or “organized groups” that qualify as “holding companies.”  

Joining Utah on this filing are the States of Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia. 

For more details, read the States’ Motion for Leave to Reply.