WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 19, 2024 – Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT) introduced a bill to protect Utah’s public lands from Wall Street activist investors. The bill prohibits Natural Asset Companies, or any similar entity, from entering into any agreement that would impact land in the state of Utah.
“Wall Street shouldn’t be allowed to control Utah’s land just to meet with ESG goals,” said Rep. Curtis. “Western communities rely on public lands for their livelihoods, recreation, and more. This rule, and any similar proposal to authorize Natural Asset Companies, is a direct threat to that way of life.”
“The creation of Natural Asset Companies (NACs) poses one of the greatest threats to rural America in our nation’s history. If NACs were to be permitted in the United States, private interests, including foreign-controlled sovereign wealth funds, could invest in a NAC to either purchase or manage public and private lands. In the case of private land, NACs could acquire the management rights to conservation easements without the landowners’ consent. Essential economic activities like farming, grazing, and energy extraction would be permanently prohibited on NAC-protected land, and recreating on Utah’s incredible natural lands could be curtailed. In states like Utah, where the federal government owns 67% of the land and is pushing for more conservation easements, the effect of NACs could be devastating. I appreciate and support Congressman Curtis’ efforts to push back against NACs and protect Utah by sponsoring this important legislation.” — Utah State Treasurer, Marlo Oaks
In October 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a rule that would allow Natural Asset Companies (NACs) to own the rights to ecological performance (i.e. natural assets) and license rights to minerals, water, or air from “sovereign nations or private landowners.” In January 2024, the rule was abruptly pulled after receiving widespread opposition, including from Congressman John Curtis and Utah State Treasurer Marlo Oaks.
While this rule has been withdrawn for now, Curtis’ bill would stop any similar rule from impacting Utah’s lands, protecting the state from future versions of this proposal.
To view bill text, click here.
Gabrielle Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) on Twitter