Oklahoma judge blocks enforcement of state’s energy boycott law

By Allison Prang | 05/08/2024 12:30 PM EDT

A lawsuit brought against the state treasurer alleged the law violates Oklahoma’s Constitution.

An Oklahoma District Court judge has issued a temporary injunction barring the state from enforcing a law prohibiting pension funds and localities from doing business with financial firms accused of boycotting fossil fuels.

Judge Sheila Stinson said in the ruling handed down Tuesday that any attempt by Oklahoma’s treasurer to divest or move money for any reason other than to benefit pensioners violates the state constitution.

The suit was brought against Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ by Don Keenan, the former president of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association. Keenan argued that the law — which requires the state treasurer to compile a list of financial firms accused of boycotting the energy sector and bar public entities from doing business with them — would violate the state’s constitution and inhibit free-speech rights. The judge rejected the claim that the law goes against freedom of speech.


A spokesperson for Russ, whose office is tasked with enforcing the Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Act of 2022, said the treasurer and his counsel are going to work on appealing the ruling. An attorney representing Keenan declined to comment on active litigation.