Monday, April 18, 2022

Gann: Is OK leadership willing to ignore liberty and capitalism to “Go Green”?

Oklahoma Going Green to Land a “Big Deal”
by State Rep. Tom Gann

Leadership in the State of Oklahoma has been on a fishing expedition to land a "Big One" to propel Oklahoma into a "diverse" energy economy. This effort has resulted in a proposal to include huge taxpayer dollar giveaways, but it could implement Biden's "Green New Deal."  

The businesses involved include a battery manufacturer and an electric vehicle (EV) start-up company that has yet to make a profit. Oklahoma would join in the "Great Reset" to bring about a new and diverse energy economy, which is a new “transformational" approach to doing business. There are new emerging criteria, which this ideology requires, for these businesses to do business. As Black Lives Matter, (BLM) is to social justice and Critical Race Theory (CRT) is to education, we now have Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) for business, just another form of wokeism. 

What is ESG? It is the Environmental, Social and Governance rating all businesses are expected to have in this new "Great Reset." According to the global elites in Oklahoma and Washington DC, no longer is the capitalist "shareholder doctrine" of maximizing profits on behalf of shareholders valid.  It now has been replaced by the "stakeholder doctrine" or "stakeholder capitalism" which seeks to impose a new standard for business success involving socially conscious corporate decision making. 

It used to be enough to produce a product everyone wants and make a profit to create a return on investment for those who buy the company stock but, globally minded CEOs now ascribe to implementing socialist objectives. Most of these objectives have been rejected by Oklahomans and Americans through the political process both electorally and legislatively.

ESG is now the socialist highbrow expectation of business. To be worthy of doing business the company has to conform to be considered sustainable and drive the transformation to this new economy. This conformity will filter down to each person employed by these companies using a social credit system.

What are the criteria for being an ESG company?  As with all socialist ideas like BLM and CRT, it is in the eyes of the beholder and very fluid.  According to the Heartland Institute's paper entitled, "Understanding Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)Metrics: A Basic Primer", "there is no uniformed approach to specific benchmarks, measurements, or ratings, instead there are multiple overlapping systems, each sponsored by different international governmental organizations and financial institutions.  A study found six prominent ESG ratings agencies noted that each of the six companies employ different category scopes, different measurements of those categories and different assigned weights to those categories." This lack of uniformity is by design to provide a plausible deniability when the CEOs of a corporation get hard questions. Most of the environmental compliance to ESG require companies to boycott the oil and gas energy sector of the economy.  To offset this threat, the Oklahoma House of Representatives recently passed HB2034 designed to prevent the boycotting of the oil and gas energy by Oklahoma or companies doing business in the state. The bill was passed out of the Senate Energy Committee and awaits to be heard by the full Senate.

The danger to all this, according to the Heartland Institute; ESG systems limit opportunities and, in some cases, ignore the rights of individuals. In the United States, ESG frameworks are not operated by government agencies so there is no elected representation. Individuals and families have no Constitutional protections guarding against actions affecting them. 

Case in point, with vaccine and mask mandates, our state’s leadership held the attitude of, "we cannot tell business what to do". They would not protect your individual rights and would not hear many bills that would have upheld individual liberty over corporate interests, including SB1644, which would have prohibited social credit ratings. This bill, which would protect Oklahomans, is currently in the Senate Public Safety committee but failed to be heard before the deadline.  

Leadership in Oklahoma state government should understand that the role of government is to protect our freedom not to invest your tax dollars in risky business ventures.  This important distinction is forgotten when they allow themselves to be caught up in the latest fad and vortex of socialism. Could it be leadership is so eager to land the "big fish" they are willing to ignore liberty and forego sound principles of capitalism to “Go Green”? 

Tom Gann
Oklahoma State Representative District 8
Rogers, Mayes, Wagoner Counties


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