Vermont should divest from fossil fuels

Editor of the Reformer:

Thirty-five years ago, I was the secretary of a noted conservation committee in New York State where we studied the effects of acid rain in our region and its effect on aquatic life. Coal fired plants in the central mid-west transported acid rain to our area, and at times we felt powerless to prevent it. To examine the effects of acid rain in otherwise healthy lakes and rivers is tragic. Lakes and rivers once teeming with life were now dead.

A few weeks ago, Governor Shumlin announced his support for the divestment of Vermont's pension funds from fossil fuels. I urge the Vermont Pension Investment Committee to follow and act on the Governor's actions.

Of note: more than 500 institutions around the world have already committed to divestment. A recent study commissioned by 350 Vermont indicated that investments in the top 20 oil, gas, and coal companies cost Vermont pension holders more than $77 million in foregone returns over the past three years.

Vermont is making great strides to protect it's waters and forests, and it should be able to continue its commitment to climate change while protecting the financial future of public employees from carbon risk.

Clifford Peters, Bellows Falls, Feb. 13