Fossil Fuel Divestment Act to be Heard in Augusta; 1/9/14


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,671)

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 on an Act which divests fossil fuel stocks from Maine Public employees retirement system.  The hearing is before the State’s Appropriations & Financial Affairs Committee and begins at 2:00 pm in Room 228 of the State Capitol Building, according to a press release issued by 350Maine.  The public is invited to attend and testify in support of LD 1461.

Last November, Unity College, became the first institution of higher learning to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  When Unity, located in rural Maine, began the process in 2008, is exposure to big energy was at approximately 10 percent of total endowment, says Deborah Cronin, Vice President of Finance & Administration.  “The strategy has been to shift investments in developed international countries to non-energy sectors,” Cronin explained  “Investments in emerging international countries cannot be moved specifically out of fossil fuels, as there are no sector specific Exchange Traded Funds at this time.  Thus, the endowment target is less than 1 percent in, not zero, as the emerging international sector needs some fossil fuel tolerance.”  Fittingly, Thursday, January 9, the Alliance for the Common Good’s Rally of Unity will be held at the State House at 1:00 pm. in support of LD 1461.

“Oil, gas and coal companies have already accumulated five times the reserves of carbon energy necessary to heat the planet beyond the recognized 2 degrees Celsius limit that world governments and scientists recognize as the upper allowable limit.  They have fixed the political system to prevent enactment of any meaningful controls on their business,” according to the press release issued by 350Maine.

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