A bill to divest Oregon from coal will head to the governor shortly

On Tuesday, House Bill 4083 passed the Oregon Senate 16-13.

Oregon State Capitol
M.O. Stevens | Public Domain

As climate change accelerates, impacting us here in Oregon and across the globe, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to drive down climate pollution and build a cleaner, greener future. The fossil fuel industry is more responsible than any other for destabilizing the climate, so a major step we need to take to mitigate climate change is to revoke the fossil fuel industry’s “social license” to operate as usual. 

Environment Oregon and OSPIRG support House Bill 4083, which would direct the Treasury to phase out publicly traded investments in coal, halt all new investments in coal and report on the phase out. 

A growing number of investors, including large institutions, have become keenly aware of the clash between the fossil fuel industry’s business model and the actions scientists say are necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. This awareness has given rise to the fossil fuel divestment movement.

A big step on the road to divestment is for the Treasury to divest from coal. Coal is no longer a good investment. Since California began removing coal from its CalPers portfolio, it has gained an estimated $598 million in returns. Oregon, on the other hand, has foregone $340 million in returns, according to an analysis by Divest Oregon. 

“Coal is damaging to the environment, climate, and public health, and we are happy to see the passage of the COAL Act so the State of Oregon’s investments better reflect our priorities, needs and values,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director with Environment Oregon.

House Bill 4083 passed out of the Oregon Senate on Tuesday with a vote of 16-13. The bill now heads to the House for a concurrence vote before heading to Governor Kotek.

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