GUNTERSVILLE — Days after Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall testified before the U.S. Congress about the perils of ESG investing, the Alabama Senate passed State Rep. Dan Roberts' (R-Mountain Brook) anti-ESG bill, which has been described as "one of the broadest pieces of ESG legislation in the country."
In a recent interview with 1819 News, Marshall said he supported Roberts' bill and was "appreciative" that Roberts was addressing the issue for the state while Marshall focuses on the national level.
Marshall stressed the importance of educating lawmakers on the full scope of ESG, which stands for environmental, social and governance, and for there to be mechanisms to protect consumers and enforce anti-trust laws.
"You look at the biggest driver inflation. It's going to be around increased energy prices and also the cost of groceries, all of which are impacted by what's going on here," he said. "And one of the things I also noticed is Alabama's anti-trust laws are a little bit weak, and so what we hope to be able to do is to continue to engage policymakers around what we're seeing at a national level and to help them sort of craft ways to make a difference in our state.
"Because one thing just to kind of have kind of a bill that says ESG is bad. I mean, I get that," he added. "But we got to make sure that there's an opportunity to do something."
Marshall said his focus as AG is to work "collectively" with other state leaders on addressing ESG from a national standpoint.
"We have to make sure that we do is evaluate what other states have done, potentially what's worked and what hasn't worked, what makes sense for our state knowing the industries that we have, and then craft something moving forward," he said. "So I think, what Dan's doing is wonderful to be able to kind of get that discussion going on, and then we need to understand that this needs to be an ongoing discussion in what we do."
Before Congress and in the interview with 1819 News, Marshall pointed out the apparent contradictions for those pushing ESG initiatives.
"If we look at the 'S,' the social, one of the things that they want to look at is the labor environment for employees," Marshall said. "Well, the United States is not in the business of solar — that's in China. And much of what is being generated around solar, whether it be the minerals that are a part of the operation to create solar panels and batteries and the manufacturer of these panels, is forced labor. So are we going to somehow or another reward you because you're using solar energy, but you're oppressing the people that are doing it?
"The ESG proponents have no answer for that because you can't have your cake and eat it too. You either got to be all in or you somehow or another got to acknowledge this doesn't really make sense."
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