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SEC Chair Gensler defends climate disclosure and crypto regulation proposals

Yahoo Finance reporter Jen Schonberger details SEC Chair Gary Gensler's defense of climate disclosure and cryptocurrency regulation proposals.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

SEANA SMITH: SEC chair Gary Gensler on Capitol Hill today defending his agency's push for public companies to disclose climate risks. Yahoo Finance's Jen Schonberger joins us now with more. Hey, Jen.

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Good afternoon, Seana. That's right. SEC chair Gary Gensler grilled this morning by Senate Republicans before the Senate Banking Committee on newly proposed climate disclosure rules and crypto regulation.

Republican ranking member Senator Pat Toomey accused the Biden administration of using the SEC to forward its liberal agenda, pointing to those climate disclosure rules. Senator Toomey asked SEC chair Gensler whether the ruling recently from the Supreme Court that the EPA lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions calls into question those climate disclosure rules.

PAT TOOMEY: It looks to me that the climate rule that you have proposed under the major question doctrine just doesn't have the Congressional authority. So my question is, in light of the EPA versus West Virginia case, have you given any consideration to rescinding that rulemaking?

GARY GENSLER: Thank you, Senator. We take seriously the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court. And so we're considering 14,000-plus comments in that comment docket. And we're considering it in light of our authorities and the law.

I would say most of the comments are supportive. Investors are using this information now, and they want the information. And I think it does fit into our 80- or 90-year history of how we do disclosures, that the disclosures are already being made.

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Meanwhile, on the crypto front, Senator Toomey also questioned SEC Chair Gensler over what constitutes a security, asking if it's fair to look at whether a token is centralized or not as a basis for what categorizes it as a security. Gensler said it's not just whether a token is centralized or not-- it's many factors-- and said he consults Supreme Court decisions, i.e., the Howey test, and whether the investing public is anticipating profit.

The SEC chair also revealed that there are only six crypto companies that have registered with the SEC, since the chairman has repeatedly asked crypto companies to proactively register with the agency. Gensler also told the Senate that the SEC is talking to a, quote, "wide swath" of crypto players, those crypto exchanges, about registering with the SEC and being properly regulated, as he puts it.

SEANA SMITH: Thanks so much for the latest on that, Jen. All right. We'll--