Hyde-Smith Previously Critical of SEC Rule Forcing Companies to Submit Climate-Related Info

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today joined U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and others in filing a bicameral amicus brief against a final rule issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions data.

The bicameral amicus brief in Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, et al v. SEC requests the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the SEC climate rule, which is the first ever issued by the agency.  Critics contend the rule is “unlawful several times over,” with multiple lawsuits pending in the Eighth Circuit, including a petition seeking review of the regulations filed by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance. 

The amicus brief argues the Climate Rule would greatly increase the burdens placed on publicly-traded companies in ways that will ultimately harm investors in those companies.  As elected members of Congress, the brief highlights strong institutional interests in protecting Congress’ power to enact legislation governing the nation, including laws addressing securities markets and climate policy.

“The SEC, as a securities regulator, is not empowered to impose sweeping climate-related regulations on publicly traded companies,” the amicus brief stated.  “Congress has demonstrated historical reluctance to pass broad climate legislation, particularly legislation that would dramatically impact federal securities law disclosure requirements.  The SEC’s overreach into climate regulation violates the separation of powers and the major questions doctrine, warranting the rule’s invalidation.”

“Further highlighting the absence of authorization for the SEC’s Climate Rule is its conflict with fundamental tenets of federal securities law that have existed for decades,” the amicus brief continued.  “Specifically, the Climate Rule contravenes the principle of materiality, a cornerstone of federal securities law. […]  The SEC’s historical stance and the Supreme Court’s interpretation affirm that immaterial information should not be subject to mandatory disclosure.  By focusing on environmental impacts rather than financial materiality, the Climate Rule deviates from the SEC’s statutory mandate.  Consequently, the Climate Rule’s disclosure requirements conflict with established federal securities law precepts and should be vacated.”

In addition to Cramer and Hyde-Smith, the amicus brief was signed by U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).  U.S. Representative Kevin Hern (R-Okla.-01) led the amicus brief in the House with at least 17 members signing.

Read the amicus brief here.

Hyde-Smith, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been critical of the SEC climate disclosure rule and other Biden administration actions to attack the future production of U.S. oil and natural gas resources.