Maine Advances Divestment Bill

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Legislators in Maine advanced a bill this week to make it the first state to pass a law that would oblige state funds to divest from fossil fuels. The bill would require the $17 billion Maine public retirement system to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels over the next five years. It was passed out of the State Senate on Tuesday in a 19-13 vote. Maine is not the first state to consider requiring its state public pension and other state-run funds to divest from fossil fuel interests. The New York State Common Retirement Fund last year announced a topline goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2040 and began a sweeping review of oil and natural gas producers in its portfolio (OD Dec.9'20). California’s municipal retirement system has taken similar action. But in those cases, state or local officials directed the policy, meaning it has a lesser degree of permanence than enacting it into law like Maine.

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