Treasurer Oaks opposes SEC proposal to allow for the creation of a new type of company designed to lock up private and public lands

Proposal could cause significant harm to rural economies by removing land from productive use

SALT LAKE CITY – December 11, 2023 – Utah Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks opposes a proposal under consideration by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would allow for the creation and listing of a new type of company called a Natural Asset Company (NAC) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The proposal poses a significant risk to rural economies by creating a mechanism for public and private land to be permanently removed from productive use in the name of solving climate change.

“The proposed creation of Natural Asset Companies is one of the greatest threats to rural communities in the history of our country,” Treasurer Oaks said. “Under the proposal, private interests, including foreign-owned sovereign wealth funds, could use their capital to purchase or manage farmland, national and state parks, and other mineral-rich areas and stop essential economic activities like farming, grazing, and energy extraction. Recreating on Utah’s incredible natural lands could also face serious curtailment.”

Unlike other types of companies, the purpose of a NAC is to maximize the value of the land’s “ecological services,” rather than generate a profit. Certain activities, including energy extraction and the use of farm machinery and synthetic fertilizers, would be prohibited on NAC-designated land.

“Russian, Chinese, or Saudi sovereign wealth funds might see particular value in locking up U.S. natural resources. In addition to the economic harm NACs would cause, there are national security implications as well,” Treasurer Oaks said.

After an unusually short 21-day public comment period, the SEC is expected to make a decision on January 2.

“I encourage Utahns to push back against a proposal that could result in the 67% of the state owned by the federal government to be placed under the control of private investors, including foreign actors, who do not have our best interest at heart. Contact the SEC, the NYSE, and your federal and state representatives and share your concerns about this dangerous proposal.”

You can learn more by reading a Wall Street Journal article written by Treasurer Oaks:

Media Contact:
Brittany Griffin
Utah Office of State Treasurer
(801) 918-1411