Goldfeder Co-Sponsors Legislation to Ban Business with Iranian Energy Sector

October 31, 2011
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D/I/WF-Far Rockaway) announced that he co-sponsored legislation that prohibits companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector from conducting business with New York State or local governments (A.8668). The bill was introduced in the Assembly by Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“New York State taxpayer dollars should not go to companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector, period,” Goldfeder said. “With this legislation, we will hopefully set an example that other states will soon follow.”

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012 – modeled after similar legislation in California and conceived with help from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York – would prohibit companies that provide goods, services or credit worth $20 million or more to Iran’s energy industry from entering into or renewing state and local government contracts.

A federal law passed last year authorized state and local governments to divest from companies whose interests in Iran’s energy sector directly or indirectly support its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The divestment would apply to companies engaged in oil or natural gas development in Iran, as well any company found to be directly involved in nuclear power.

The legislation directs the Office of General Services to create a list of people, corporations and other organizations with investments of more than $20 million in the Iranian energy sector. Those on the list would be excluded from bidding on government contracts.

The bill also requires individuals or entities to certify they are not on the list when they submit bids to state and local agencies. Individuals or companies on the list that are the sole source of certain commodities or services can renew or enter into contracts on a case-by-case basis.

“Iran is known for its role in terrorism,” Goldfeder said. “It is vitally important that we ensure taxpayer dollars do not help Iran’s energy sector and the country’s efforts to obtain nuclear arms.”

In 2009, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that he divested $86.2 million in New York State Common Retirement Fund investments from nine companies that conducted business in Iran and/or Sudan.