Last week, another environmentalist climate change scheme went down in flames. A plan to control public lands and manipulate the stock market was halted in its tracks after I was joined by 24 other Attorneys General in sending a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. We demanded the New York Stock Exchange abandon their plans to list Natural Asset Companies (NACs) on the stock exchange. This letter was followed by a demand from state and federal elected officials from Idaho (including myself) expressing similar concerns.
A Natural Asset Company is the latest fad of environmental activists to get paid for their efforts to control intangible assets like clean air or water, or carbon-scrubbing forests. This is all in the name of fighting climate change and promoting ESG policies – Environmental Social Governance. Instead of intelligent management of our public lands for job-creating efforts like forestry, mining, mineral extraction and recreation, NACs would be locking up public lands and prohibiting productive economic uses.
For a resource-rich state like Idaho, NACs would be a disaster. Instead of Idaho making local decisions about the responsible economic use and management of our lands, corporate boards filled with virtue-signaling executives trying to meet their ESG benchmarks would be running the show. Or worse, foreign governments, which are already buying up land in strategic locations across the country would be calling the shots. China alone owns close to 380,000 acres of agricultural land in the United States, some of which is suspiciously close to military installations. That’s bad for America, and it’s certainly bad for Idaho and other states in the West with abundant and resource-rich public lands.
It’s also unclear how any of these NACs would be monetized. How do you assign a value to something intangible? It’s pretty apparent that selling something imaginary without an established, market-driven value is ripe for abuse, fraud, and manipulation. We’d all be better off buying a bag of magic beans.
That’s why we Attorneys General wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission, insisting the NYSE’s proposed rule change was ill-advised and illegal. We sent the letter on January 9th, and by January 17th, the SEC had withdrawn the proposed rule change.
It’s vitally important to never outsource those decisions to groups who don’t have Idaho’s best interests at heart. I will always stand up for Idaho and the effective, local management of our public resources and public lands.