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State treasurer supports legislation to divest Vermont pension fund from fossil fuels

Jim Cole
/
AP
At a conference on Vermont climate policy this week, State Treasurer Mike Pieciak spoke in support of proposed legislation that would divest the state's pension fund from the investment in fossil fuel companies.

A bill introduced in the statehouse earlier this year would divest the state’s pension fund from investment in fossil fuel companies by the end of the decade.

It has the support of State Treasurer Mike Pieciak, who spoke about the proposed legislation at a conference on Vermont climate policy this week.

“The first thing as treasurer is to do no harm to the pension system — I don’t believe this bill does that,” Pieciak said. “Then you also need to look at the financial risk of investing in fossil fuels over the short, medium and long term. And I think this bill creates a framework to do just that and to reduce our risk over time.”

He said the climate advocacy group for Third Act first introduced the legislation.

“I’m thrilled that our treasurer is supporting the bill that was really our first piece of political action,” said Beth Sachs, a member of Third Act, who’s been working to promote energy efficiency in Vermont since the 1980s, and helped create Efficiency Vermont.

Several other municipalities have already passed similar legislation or voluntarily committed to divesting from fossil fuel companies in recent years — including MaineNew York StateNew York City, Quebec and the Vatican.

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Lexi covers science and health stories for Vermont Public.
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