24 Mar 2022 Labor’s Climate Agenda Harms Everyday Americans
In February, President Biden’s Labor Department published a Request for Information (RFI), seeking public comment on the agency’s “future work relating to retirement savings and climate-related financial risk.”
What’s the impetus for publishing such a broad and peculiar RFI? Why, it’s President Biden’s Executive Order 14030 on Climate-Related Financial Risks, of course.
According to the Labor Department’s request, Biden’s climate executive order (EO) “outlined a whole-of-government approach to mitigating climate-related financial risk and to safeguarding the financial security of America’s workers, families, and businesses from the threat that climate change poses to their life savings.” Section 4 of the EO specifically directs the Labor Department to “ensure the resilience of workers’ life savings and pensions through a series of actions,” meaning its RFI is in furtherance of this direction.
Put a bit differently, the environmental zealots at the White House are likely dissatisfied with the amount of progress being made by their Labor Department colleagues on addressing this issue and want to see additional rulemaking. Hence the RFI, which will no doubt lead to one – if not several – proposed rules down the road directing the consideration of “climate change risk” when it comes to retirement and other benefits plans.
However, the Labor Department and the folks in the Biden Administration currently running it do not seem to care that its climate agenda will hurt everyday Americans.
“The damage to retirement funds, savings and futures of middle and working-class Americans of reducing carbon investment on a politicized schedule is unfathomable,” said Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director Scott Shepard in a recent interview with The Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News. “Biden’s policies are revving up inflation while diminishing opportunities, prospects, and the availability of the basic necessities of life, putting peoples’ present and future well-being at risk.”
Scott concluded: “As with everything from this administration, it is a politicized fraud that will harm average Americans grievously.”
Assuming the RFI leads to rulemaking, it would not be the first from the Labor Department in furtherance of Biden’s climate EO. The Labor Department already published a proposed rule on “climate-related financial risk” last fall entitled Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights. That proposed rule pushes a left-wing ESG agenda focusing on a liberal wish list of climate-change and so-called diversity initiatives at the expense of pension holders’ bottom line – and in likely violation of pension fund managers’ fiduciary duties. FEP submitted a public comment to that rule, which you can read here, and requested the Labor Department withdraw it and instead allow the preexisting regulations requiring fund managers to focus on pecuniary interests to stand.
To read more from Scott Shepard’s interview with the Heartland Institute, click here.
To review the Labor Department’s latest RFI and submit a public comment, click here. The comment period ends May 16, 2022.