February 26, 2019

Ahead of lobby day tomorrow, officials respond to DiNapoli’s unusual call against divestment

Comptroller DiNapoli sends unprecedented letter to full state legislature urging divestment bill opposition, Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz respond

Albany, NY — Today, New York State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, co-sponsors of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, released a clear-eyed response to an unusual letter from State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli where he urged against divestment. The Comptroller sending such a letter to the full legislature is highly unprecedented.

“As a person living on a state pension, I am outraged that the state retiree fund is continuing to support the fossil fuel industry and its continuing damage to our climate,” said Steve Redler, pensioneer and resident of Bethlehem in Albany County. “Studies show the state retiree fund experienced a lower return in recent years because it maintained its fossil fuel investments. Divestment is a way of increasing the security of our planet — and my financial security as well.”

For years, DiNapoli has argued for the tactic of shareholder engagement, yet Reuters just revealed Exxon is attempting to block DiNapoli’s climate resolution from going to a vote at this year’s annual meeting. Tomorrow, over 60 people will gather in Albany for a press conference, creative action and lobby day calling for New York to be a real climate leader and divest from fossil fuels. More information on tomorrow’s presser and lobby day can be found here and in the advisory below.

WHAT: #DivestNY creative action & lobby day

WHO: Members of the #DivestNY coalition representing groups across the state, including: 350.org, 350 NJ/Rockland, NRDC, New York Communities for Change, Divest Invest, NY Climate Advocacy Project , Green Education Legal Fund.

WHEN & WHERE: Tomorrow, Weds, February 27, 2019 at 10:15am, War Room, Capitol Building, Albany, NY

WHY: New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is still investing $13 billion of New Yorkers’ pension money in fossil fuel companies, despite it being proven to be financially imprudent. This includes $1 billion in ExxonMobil, a corporation currently being sued for fraud by NY attorney general.

Pensioners, community members, and young people launched the call for DiNapoli to divest from fossil fuels the day after Superstorm Sandy hit, a storm which devastated lives and livelihoods of New Yorkers, and cost the taxpayers over $60 billion with  recovery still ongoing. In January 2018, New York City’s similar-sized pension funds committed to divest within five years.

During his State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to begin the process of divestment. DiNapoli remains isolated as the world urgently moves off fossil fuels, and as New York takes bold action for a Green New Deal.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Members of the #DivestNY coalition, as well as Senator Liz Krueger, available for interviews.


Contact: Lindsay Meiman, lindsay@350.org, (347) 460-9082

For more on New York’s pension funds by the numbers, explore this media pack.