Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce Joins Coalition of Local and State Public Finance Officials to Oppose the Repeal of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

20 December 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt.— Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce is part of a coalition of state and local public finance officials who have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt repeal of the Clean Power Plan, an EPA regulation developed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

“Environmental and social stewardship is critically important for Vermont’s continued economic prosperity,” said Treasurer Pearce. “We call on the EPA to maintain policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of our planet, and ensure the long-term profitability of our investments.”

The coalition of state and local officials filed their comments to the EPA on December 14, 2017. In addition to Treasurer Pearce, signatories include California State Treasurer John Chiang, California State Controller Betty T. Yee, Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, New Mexico State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, and Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

Treasurer Pearce’s action on the Clean Power Plan builds upon a long record of engagement undertaken by the Vermont Treasurer’s Office and Vermont Pension Investment Committee (VPIC). In December 2017, the Treasurer’s Office and VPIC leveraged Vermont’s $4.2 billion investment portfolio to advocate for sound environmental disclosure policies and for business practices that support human rights:

  • December 8: Co-filed on Exxon Independent Chair/CEO Resolution with Kestrel Foundation of Maine;
  • December 8: Co-filed on Chevron Independent Chair/CEO Resolution with Zevin Asset Management LLC;
  • December 14: VPIC and the Treasurer’s Office are active in Climate Action 100+, an investor-led initiative to engage with the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to curb emissions, strengthen financial disclosures, and improve environmental governance;
  • December 15: VPIC participated in the Pioneer Natural Resources company call to urge completion of a comprehensive sustainability report;
  • December 15: Co-filed with Rhode Island Employees' Retirement Pooled Trust on Devon Energy Corporation Lobbying Disclosure.

“As the fiduciary of the State’s investment portfolio, the Treasurer’s Office and VPIC actively work to ensure Vermont values are represented as we file shareholder resolutions to hold companies accountable,” explained Treasurer Pearce. “By leveraging our assets with partners, we can make proactive changes to change behaviors, such as environmentally damaging business practices, that jeopardize future profitability.”   

VPIC’s 2017 co-filings build on a decade of climate-related shareholder engagement by the Vermont Treasurer’s Office. The Vermont Treasurer’s Office is a founding member of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), and the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) campaign, both of which comprise institutional investors working to address climate change. VPIC or Treasurer Pearce have co-filed many resolutions to urge energy companies to transition to low carbon business plans. On May 31, 2017, a majority of shareholders, including Treasurer Pearce and VPIC, voted to support a resolution urging ExxonMobil to address climate change-related risk within its business plans.

The Vermont Treasurer’s Office and VPIC will actively pursue engagement in 2018. On January 31, 2018, Treasurer Pearce will serve as a convener for the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, a role she also held in 2014 and 2016.

“We need to continue our active role as shareholders to ensure our environment and investments remain strong in the future. I look forward to sharing Vermont values as we form new engagement partnerships in the year ahead,” stated Pearce.
 

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