Reworked SEC climate rule fails to assuage Hill critics

By Emma Dumain | 03/07/2024 06:28 AM EST

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed disappointment with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s final text.

Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.).

(From left) Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), all members of the Congressional Sustainable Investment Caucus, are seen during a press conference Wednesday on the Securities and Exchange Commission's climate disclosure rule. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The Security and Exchange Commission’s decision Wednesday to dilute a long-awaited rule to compel major companies to disclose their carbon emissions ultimately did little to neutralize the political response on Capitol Hill.

As lawmakers learned the details of the SEC’s so-called climate disclosure rule, their reactions signaled just how politicized environmental policies have truly become — and how dug in members remain in their positions.

“The SEC was bullied by corporate interests, specifically by fossil fuel interests,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has used his leadership of the Senate Budget Committee to connect special interests to the perpetuation of global warming.


“The SEC made a mistake allowing itself to be influenced by [them] … and the administration made a mistake by not taking [them] on and not calling it out from the get-go.”