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Politics

Mills Signs Bill To Divest State Investments From Fossil Fuels

A refinery in Anacortes, Wash. In 2016, voters in Washington state rejected an initiative that would have taxed carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline.
A refinery in Anacortes, Wash. In 2016, voters in Washington state rejected an initiative that would have taxed carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline.

Gov. Janet Mills has signed into a law a bill that directs the Maine Public Employee Retirement System to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels within five years and directs the state treasury to do the same with other state funds. The governor's action makes Maine the first state in the country to commit to fossil fuel divestment through legislation and Cassie Cain of the coalition Maine Youth for Climate Justice and 350 Maine says she expects other states to follow Maine's lead.

"You know, there's other campaigns going in New York and California and Colorado. This sets a really good precedent that this is able to be done through legislation," Cain says.

Sponsored by Democratic Rep. Maggie O'Neil of Saco, the bill was backed by State Treasurer Henry Beck, Maine Youth for Climate Justice and environmental advocacy organizations who say that it's past time for public pensions and others to address the mounting climate risk by dropping fossil fuel investments from their portfolios.