Maine Turns into First State to Cross Fossil Gas Divestment Invoice

Maine has turn out to be the primary state to move laws that bans public investments in fossil fuels. The invoice requires the $17 billion Maine Public Worker Retirement System (PERS) to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels inside 5 years, and orders the state Treasury to do the identical with all state funds.

“Fossil fuels have fanned the flames of the local weather disaster, and investing in them is unhealthy for each our retirees and our surroundings,” State Rep. Margaret O’Neil, a Democrat and the invoice’s sponsor, wrote within the Portland Press Herald. “Persevering with to take a position state retirement funds in corporations that produce fossil fuels runs counter to the formidable environmental targets Maine has set for itself.”

Underneath the brand new regulation, the state treasurer and the Maine PERS board of trustees will not be allowed to take a position the property of any state pension or annuity fund in any shares or different securities of any fossil gasoline business firm. This consists of any subsidiary, affiliate, or guardian of any corporations which might be among the many 200 largest publicly traded fossil gasoline corporations, as set by carbon within the corporations’ oil, gasoline, and coal reserves. Although Maine is the primary state to move this sort of laws, different states, together with New York, have thought of related strikes with their pension funds.

Maine PERS presently has greater than $1.3 billion invested in fossil gasoline corporations, corresponding to ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips, together with $850 million invested via non-public fairness funding funds, in line with environmental group

The invoice additionally requires the treasurer and Maine PERS board to divest any shares or different securities, whether or not they’re owned immediately or held via separate accounts or any commingled funds, by Jan. 1, 2026. Nevertheless, it additionally stipulates that this should be executed “in accordance with sound funding standards and per the board’s fiduciary obligations.” Exempt from the restrictions are short-term funding funds that commingle industrial paper or futures.

Moreover, the state treasurer and the Maine PERS board should report on the divestment’s progress to the joint standing committee of the legislature that has jurisdiction over appropriations and monetary affairs by the primary of January in 2023, 2024, and 2025. They’re additionally required to make a last report back to the committee by Jan. 1, 2026.

“Curbing local weather change requires, partially, intentional authorities motion, crafted with fiduciary obligations in thoughts,” Maine Treasurer Henry Beck wrote in a press release of help for the invoice. Beck famous that the state’s belief funds’ equities are solely 3% invested within the vitality sector, including that “this low publicity illustrates one other level: that there was a current transfer away from vitality, particularly in fossil fuels by sure public funds.”

Associated Tales:

NY Invoice Would Divest Academics’ Pension from Fossil Fuels

Practically 50 Non secular Establishments Divest From Fossil Fuels

Cambridge College to Divest from Fossil Fuels by 2030

Tags: Invoice, divest, divestment, fossil gasoline, LD99, laws, Maine Public Worker Retirement System

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