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Texas official quizzes financial companies on fossil fuel investments -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A sign for BlackRock Inc is hung above their New York City building, on July 16, 2018. File Photo

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By Ross Kerber

(Reuters] – Glenn Hegar of Texas, the Texas Comptroller has questioned 19 companies in financial services to determine their fossil fuel investment strategies, according to his office on Wednesday. This demonstrates how extensive a review can be that could result in firms losing state pension mandates.

Letters were sent to companies including BlackRock Inc (NYSE:),, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:) & Co among others “that may be boycotting the fossil fuel industry,” according to a statement and other material sent by a spokesman for the Republican state official.

Hegar claimed that companies may still have oil and gas investments, but they could be selling the “green” future by promising to reduce or divest their fossil fuel exposure.

Hegar said that another round will be sent soon to 100 more publicly-traded companies investing in fossil fuels.

Hegar will create a list for financial companies that are refusing to use fossil fuels under new state legislation. The firms that are found to be boycotting fossil fuels could be prohibited from administering state pension funds. Hegar advised companies they have 60 calendar days to respond.

The access to public pension funds, such as the $197 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas that has $2.5 Billion with BlackRock, is on the line.

Major investors are faced with balancing acts, as pension funds or endowments decide to sell fossil fuel stocks in response to climate change fears. However, other investors have been able to keep their hands on the stock due to high energy prices.

Hegar could not be reached for comment by a spokesperson.

BlackRock representatives, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo declined to comment. BlackRock, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo had previously written to Texas officials arguing that, as long-term investors in fossil fuel companies they want these companies to succeed.

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