Mills Signs Divestment Bill into Law Becoming First State to Divest From Fossil Fuels


Anna Siegel, a Leader in the Maine Youth for Climate Justice Movement at a Rally Last October, at the Corner of Federal and Pearl Streets. Portland. For more on it. please visit post herein dated October 24, 2020.

Governor Janet T. Mills has signed LD 99, An Act to Require the State to Divest Itself of Assets invested in the Fossil Fuel industry in a groundbreaking move announced this afternoon.  This action by Governor Mills makes Maine the first state in the USA to commit to fossil fuel divestment through legislation.  The bill directs the $17 billion Maine Public Employee Retirement System to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels within 5 years and directs the Treasury to do the same with other state funds.

Momentum to divest pension aid government funds is growing as New York City and State have moved recently to divest from fossil fuels and Minnesota dropped coal sticks last year.  More than 1300 institutions with $14 trillion in assets have also committed to some form of divestment.  The Maine legislation follows all climate finance actions by the Biden administration, a game changing report by the International Energy Agency that no more fossil fuel expansion can be accommodated in order to meet global climate goals, and big setbacks by fossil fuel giants, EXXON, Shell and Chevron in the hands of investors and the courts.

The bill sponsored by Representative Maggie O’Neil, of Saco, received support from Maine State Treasurer Henry Beck, the statewide coalition of Maine Youth for Climate Justice and numerous environmental advocacy organizations such as Sierra Club and 350 Maine.  The joint press release issued today came from the Sierra Club Maine. Mane Youth for Climate Justice and

The Public Employee Retirement System currently has more than $1.3 billion invested in fossil fuel companies including dozens of publicly traded companies like EXXONMOBIL, Chevron and  ConocoPhillips, including $850 million invested through secretive private equity investment funds.

The victory comes after a multi-year effort by Maine community activists and advocates.  These included protests, letter writing campaigns, meetings with legislators, educational events and petition drives.

“As the Gulf of Maine keeps heating, so does the pressure on the fossil fuel industry:  divesting sends a truly powerful message and to have Augusta join in adds real weight.  This action is a gift to the planet and also to the pensioners of the Pine Tree State, freeing them from the money-losing investments in gas and oil that are also undercutting the landscape into which they will someday retire,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of and an author of numerous environmental books including: The End of Nature, Hope, Human & Wild and The Age of Misinformation, among them.

“Pensioners deserve better out of their retirement funds than investment in companies that actually damage the ground on which we walk, the water we drink and the air we breathe,” said Anna Siegel, a leader of the effort with Maine Youth for Climate Justice.