Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on July 14, 2020 about the potential antitrust issues raised by how radical groups have coordinated to starve oil and gas companies of capital. He writes,
America’s largest financial institutions are picking winners and losers in the energy sector for political reasons—even while the Covid-19 crisis has reduced global oil demand and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has flooded global markets with crude. Under pressure from environmental activists, banks are withholding desperately needed capital from oil and gas companies. In doing so, they put millions of jobs at risk and may even be violating federal antitrust law.
Addressing announcements by banks and investment firms to stop lending money in support of Arctic oil drilling and coal mining, Gray writes,
These announcements look a lot like invitations to collude on a boycott of a critical segment of the U.S. economy. The Federal Trade Commission has maintained that such invitations—even if they go unheeded—can violate federal antitrust law. As the FTC and the Department of Justice reiterated in April, “Even absent a collusive agreement,” antitrust enforcers may “pursue a civil enforcement action against companies and individuals that invite others to collude.” If made with an intent to invite or signal competitors to join a group boycott, these announcements could violate the law.
The full editorial, entitled Banks’ Energy Boycott Is an Antitrust Problem, is available here.