To the Editor:
LD 99 is a bill to divest the Maine state retirement program (MEPERS) of fossil fuel interests. Divestment from fossil fuels is an imperative to meet the demands of our changing climate, not to mention our local and state climate goals. But fossil fuel investments also threaten the stability and growth of MEPERS. MEPERS has over $1 billion invested in fossil fuels. In the past year, these investments have lost 9.5 percent, while the rest of the MEPERS portfolio gained 9.2 percent. In real dollars, this means a loss of $133 million dollars in the last year alone. And this is not just a pandemic anomaly. Fossil fuel stocks in the S&P 500 lost 16 percent over the 10 years prior to the pandemic, while the rest of the S&P 500 gained over 150 percent during that time. The losses incurred this year alone could have paid for every one of Maines’ 617 public schools to install a solar array worth $217,000. As a public school teacher, a portion of each of my paychecks goes to the MEPERS fund. I am appalled that my money is being used to pursue the drilling, storage and transport of fossil fuels, ultimately ensuring a less-livable world for my students. If you feel similarly, sign the petition on the 350.org website and contact your local representatives to express your support of LD 99.