County supervisors vote to divest from fossil fuel industries

News Date

Article by: City News Service

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Tuesday to ban county investment in all fossil fuels — including coal, petroleum and natural gas — as part of an effort to combat climate change.

According to Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer's office, the action will prohibit investments "in any corporation that engages in the exploration, production, drilling or refining" of fossil fuels.

"Today we're taking action to align our investment dollars with our county's mission and values," Lawson-Remer said in a statement. "Our vote ensures that our county, school districts, colleges, special districts and local agencies are not investing in fossil fuel industries that profit from destroying our planet and mortgaging the future of the world that we leave our children."

The vote aligns the county's $13 billion investment pool with the region's climate goals, Lawson-Remer said.

Lawson-Remer also said she was grateful to Nora Vargas, board vice chairwoman, for her leadership on the issue and her colleagues "for acting on this moral imperative."

Lawson-Remer's academic background includes policy on fossil fuel divestment.

During a public call-in period, one resident took issue with the board's divesture vote, saying it will hurt vulnerable residents in terms of gas prices while increasing dependence on outside energy sources.

Furthermore, because the county has no current investment in fossil fuels, "you are voting on a non-issue," she told supervisors.

Supervisor Joel Anderson was ill and didn't participate in Tuesday's meeting, held via teleconference.

In a related action, supervisors voted 4-0 to receive a report on county department sustainability plans, and adopt goals that include reducing waste and pollution. The board also approved extending a contract — ranging between $500,000 and $740,000 — with technical consulting firm Arup USA to develop the sustainability plans.

Lawson-Remer said the report "really reflects what our county staff can do when we ask people to think big."

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