In landmark move, Maine becomes first state to pass legislation to divest from fossil fuels


In what environmental advocates called an important step forward for climate justice, Maine became the first state to commit through legislation to divest from fossil fuel companies after Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill this week.

The legislation, LD 99, sponsored by Rep. Maggie O’Neil (D-Saco), “directs the $17 billion Maine Public Employee Retirement System to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels within five years” and directs the state treasurer to “do the same with other state funds,” according to a news release by 350 Maine. The bill was amended to grant the retirement system some flexibility in pursuing a gradual divestment from fossil fuels. 

The move comes as momentum for fossil fuel divestment is building around the country, including in states such as New York as well as some cities. All in all, more than 1,300 institutions with a total of $14 trillion in assets have committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment. 

Author(s): Evan Popp

Publication Date: 19 June 2021

Publication Site: Maine Beacon