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State employees could lose $6.7 billion in pension returns if anti-ESG bill passes

A Chase Bank building in Bethesda, Maryland.
G. Edward Johnson
/
Wikimedia Commons
Indiana lawmakers have concerns about financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase because of their climate commitments — despite the fact that Chase, and several other large banks, still invested billions of dollars into fossil fuels in 2022.

Those opposed to a state House bill suspected it would mean less pension money for state employees. But a new estimate by the Indiana Public Retirement System shows it would be a significant loss in returns — about $6.7 billon over the next decade.

The bill, HB 1008, aims to cut ties with banks that have certain ESGs or environmental, social and governance policies. These are policies that consider the environmental or social impacts of their investments.

READ MORE: Lawmakers try again to cut ties with banks that divest from coal, study says it could be costly

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues throughout the legislative session. And follow along with our bill tracker.

Those in favor of the bill said these banks are discriminating against Indiana businesses like coal companies and firearm makers.

A recent study commissioned for the climate advocacy group The Sunrise Project shows these laws reduce competition for state bond issues. That drives up interest and can cost taxpayers millions.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.