Tim Mohin: SEC’s Self-Inflicted Stay and Legal Battles Continue

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In an unprecedented move, late on Thursday, the SEC decided to stay their own rule while the litigation is settled to “avoid any regulatory uncertainty.”

Meanwhile, Liberty Energy, a Denver-based fracking company, was the first company to sue the SEC and has emerged as the most outspoken opponent of the climate rule. CEO Chris Wright has litigated other environmental rules in the past. 

He is attempting to carve out a new position: While stipulating that the climate is warming and human-caused emissions are a cause, he claims it is not a crisis and has been overhyped. This LinkedIn video—which was temporarily removed for saying, “There is no climate crisis”—outlines his views. 

Mr. Wright is trying to block the SEC’s climate rule because of regulatory overreach, claiming, “They’re just way out of their lane. Unfortunately, bigger governments and more overbearing governments hurt small upstarts and the dynamism of our marketplace. And I’m very opposed to that.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tim Mohin – SEC Climate Disclosure Rule Fallout: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The SEC Climate Rule, finalized on March 6 and litigated immediately by Liberty, was halted by the 5th Circuit Court. Since then, nine lawsuits (7 against the rule and 2 claiming it is too weak) have been filed, and two were consolidated in the 8th Circuit Court. 

Notably, the stay on implementing the new rule was lifted when the cases were consolidated. Earlier in the week, the SEC fought to delay the rule, saying that Liberty “identified no imminent harm justifying such emergency relief” because the rule does not require disclosures from Liberty Energy until 2026. Now, in a stunning turnaround, the SEC decided to unilaterally pause the implementation of this rule while the litigation is ongoing. 

You are forgiven if you find this tale confusing…it is. While no one knows the final outcome, suffice it to say, it’s an interesting and fast-moving story. 

This Smart Read article is contributed by Tim Mohin, Global Sustainability Leader, BCG. Every week ESG News delivers smart commentary from ESG practitioners and experts to unpack issues of the week. Submit your ESG Smart Read to editor@esgnews.com

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