U.S. senators have sent competing letters to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell regarding climate risk in BlackRock's management of the Fed's three new programs aimed at supporting the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
BlackRock's financial markets advisory unit was appointed March 24 as investment manager for the primary market corporate credit facility, providing new bond and loan issuance; and the secondary market corporate credit facility, providing liquidity for outstanding corporate bonds.
A group of 17 Republican senators on April 7 sent a letter to Mr. Powell expressing concern regarding "outside groups" advocating for the exclusion of certain industries such as the energy and transportation sectors from loans available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
"Acquiescing to these demands would be contrary to Congressional intent and would arbitrarily harm certain American workers," the letter said. "Both are unacceptable."
The letter from senators led by Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota appeared to address a portion of a March 27 letter from groups that include watchdog Public Citizen and the Sierra Club calling on the Fed and other financial regulatory agencies to bolster the "resilience of the financial system to safely handle the climate shock that is barreling towards us. Helping our economy weather this global pandemic is vital but should not accelerate climate change as part of our rescue efforts."