Oregon Lawmakers Push for State Divestment From Fossil Fuels | Oregon Information

By ANDREW SELSKY, Related Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The state of Oregon ought to divest from the fossil fuels business to guard each the surroundings and its investments, three Oregon lawmakers stated Wednesday as a brand new research put the extent of that funding at $1.8 billion or extra.

“The Oregon Treasury, which manages $130 billion of the state’s funding portfolio, is invested in oil, fuel, and coal corporations liable for our local weather emergency,” Reps. Khanh Pham, Paul Holvey and Jeff Golden stated in a column revealed in The Oregonian/OregonLive, the state’s largest newspaper.

The three Democratic lawmakers introduced that they may introduce a invoice within the 2022 legislative session, which begins Feb. 1, “to reveal Oregon’s fossil gas holdings so the general public can clearly perceive our state’s monetary and local weather dangers.”

The burning of fossil fuels like coal and fuel emits gases which might be a number one trigger of world warming and local weather change. Oregon has been struggling the consequences of local weather change, with wildfires getting worse, a record-breaking warmth wave final summer time that killed greater than 100 individuals, and a extreme drought affecting a lot of the state.

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Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Learn, in an interview final summer time with Oregon Public Radio, wouldn’t be pinned down on the quantity of the state’s fossil gas investments.

“It’s not simply public equities, it’s additionally personal fairness, it’s additionally bonds,” stated Learn, a Democrat who’s operating for governor within the 2022 election. “So we’re promoting and shopping for bonds actually on daily basis. So it modifications.”

A gaggle referred to as the Local weather Protected Pensions Community stated in a report launched Wednesday that the Oregon state worker pension fund’s funding in fossil fuels was no less than $1.77 billion, together with investments with Exxon Cell, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Marathon Petroleum. The determine is partial “as a result of delays in disclosure by the pension fund,” the report stated.

The Local weather Protected Pensions Community describes itself as a community of pension divestment and shareholder advocacy campaigns, coordinated and supported by

“The quickest approach for pensions to handle local weather change is to divest fossil gas holdings and spend money on simply and equitable local weather options,” stated Amy Grey,’s senior local weather finance strategist.

Of their newspaper column, the three Oregon legislators challenged the state Treasury to “take a compelling first step towards daring local weather management by disclosing the state’s fossil gas holdings as quickly as doable.”

“Accountability begins after we can observe the cash,” they stated.

The Treasury division didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon the newspaper column or the report.

However John Russell, the chairman of the Oregon Funding Council, stated throughout a gathering Wednesday that divesting from fossil fuels and different questionable sectors goes past the council’s mandate.

“Divestiture is, mainly, our physique turning into an activist physique, which I don’t assume it was ever meant to be,” stated Russell, whose council oversees the funding and allocation of all state of Oregon belief funds, together with the Oregon Public Staff Retirement Fund.

Nonetheless, Russell added that if the Legislature desires to alter the statutes that the council operates below or advise the council, its members can be “open to that.”

He famous that earlier than Wednesday’s assembly, the council’s workers obtained over 200 pages of public written feedback and a few 1,500 cellphone calls on the problem of divestment, although he stated not all supported fossil gas divestment.

Opponents of divestment argue that funds would lose no matter leverage they could have with the businesses they’re concerned with. Divestment advocates say that in addition to an effort to fight local weather change, there’s additionally a monetary incentive, with the worth of share choices in fossil gas corporations dropping.

Observe Andrew Selsky on Twitter at

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