Opinion: Time for state of Vermont to divest from fossil fuels

I am writing in support of fossil fuel divestment. I first learned of this years ago in association with universities divesting. Now I’m finding that those keeping their investments away from oil, coal and natural gas interests has grown to more than 500, including universities, philanthropic organizations, faith-based institutions, medical organizations and state governments. And now there’s a movement in Vermont’s state government to divest. None other than our governor, Peter Shumlin, is actively in support of this.
Why is this a big deal? Burning coal has long caused acid rain in Vermont. And as to coal, oil and natural gas companies, not only are they polluting our environment and causing climate change, but they are negatively impacting Vermont’s economy. A recent study indicates that investments in these companies cost Vermont pension holders more than $77 million in foregone returns over the past three years.
Vermont can have an open and fair discussion on the merits of divestment. I urge that the Vermont Pension Investment Committee and Treasurer Beth Pearce make the ultimate decision to divest from fossil fuels.
For more information on divesting in Vermont, visit http://350vermont.org/current-campaigns/divestment.
Wayne Michaud

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