Governor Shumlin says the next strategy in his War on Climate Change is to divest the state pension fund of all coal and Exxon stocks. He said at a press conference that with the maple sap running in January and not enough snow on the ski slopes, Vermont needs to do everything it can to lead the charge against global warming.
Seriously? By selling a few hundred thousand dollars of stock? If Gov. Shumlin really cared about global warming, he would not have led the charge to close the most effective carbon-free power generator in Vermont history, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Now, without its power, Vermont and the rest of New England are burning more fossil fuels for electricity than ever. Our carbon footprint has gone up, not down. Vermonters need to know if this is an attempt to get more state money to support renewable power, which apparently cannot yet stand on its own two feet. It would not surprise me if once those investments are sold, they will “naturally” be “reinvested” in loans and grants and investments in renewable power. It’s just more gravy for the renewable power gravy train.
And if these politically-motivated “investments” perform poorly for Vermont state retirees, well, those are the breaks. This is why the Legislature set up a state pension board – to keep our state retirees’ futures from being held hostage to the political whims of a few. I’m glad that Treasurer Beth Pearce is telling the governor and the legislature loud and clear that state pension funds aren’t political footballs to be kicked around.