Apr 13, 2017 - Seattle Moves Towards Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Seattle, WA On April 12, 2017, Mayor Murray urged the Seattle City Employees Retirement System (SCERS) board to support divestment of its $2.5 billion pension fund from fossil fuels.

“Today I want to add my voice to the chorus of other advocates from 350[Seattle].org and other organizations in calling for the Retirement Board to divest from fossil fuels,” wrote Mayor Murray in a communication from his office to the SCERS Board and the City Council.

In the letter, Mayor Murray calls for the SCERS Board to immediately divest from coal and look into options around divesting from oil and gas. He also requests that the Board create a fossil fuel-free investment portfolio as part of the City’s Deferred Compensation Plan and Trust Committee.

The letter comes six weeks after over one-hundred and fifty advocates delivered a community letter calling for divestment to the Mayor’s office. The letter had been signed by a broad coalition of faith, civic, labor and environmental justice advocates. Activists had also previously presented the Mayor with a financial report showing that the city has lost $65 million over the last ten years by remaining invested in fossil fuels, and a petition signed by almost 500 City employees and retirees.

“This is a great start,” says Dept. of Transportation strategic adviser, Margo Polley. “Investing in the fossil fuel industry, which disproportionately impacts communities of color and low income communities, is at odds with the City’s race and social justice initiative, and environmental justice mission. I hope the SCERS will heed the Mayor’s advice and begin the process of divestment.”

“Divesting from fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do morally, it also makes financial sense,” says Dr. Bruce Flory, principal economist at Seattle Public Utilities. “The survival of human society depends on the majority of fossil fuel reserves being left in the ground. When this fact becomes clear to the market, the value of fossil fuel stocks will crash. Smart investors will have already divested.”

The SCERS Board is expected to discuss the Mayor’s fossil fuel divestment request at its monthly board meeting on Thursday.

Contact: Alec Connon, 206-258-9176

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