Divestment from Fossil Fuels Bill Does Not Receive a Public Hearing
Sacramento, Calif. – On June 21, 2022 Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) issued the following statement after the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement refused to allow Senate Bill 1173, The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act to have a public hearing in the committee. The bill would have significantly advanced state climate goals by requiring California’s two largest public pension funds to divest over $11 billion of fossil fuel investments by 2030.
“While I am deeply disappointed that my Senate Bill 1173 was not set for a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement this week, I remain committed to the necessary and ongoing fight against the impacts of climate change on our state, and especially those communities in my district that are disproportionately impacted by the negative effects of the climate crisis,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “Teachers and state employees whose retirement futures are invested by our state’s pension funds have long demanded that CalPERS and CalSTRS cease investing their money in fossil fuel companies, and this demand will only grow stronger and louder. I’m thankful for the hard work of our grassroots supporters at Fossil Free California, the California Faculty Association, and the youth climate activists with Youth Vs Apocalypse who helped move this bill out of the Senate and look forward to continuing this fight to ensure policy aligns with our state's values as a world climate leader, and that we can pass on a livable planet to future generations. ”
Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) added, “This bill passed through two Senate policy committees: Judiciary and Labor, and I want to thank the Chairs of these committees and my Senate Colleagues who helped pass this bill off the Senate Floor.”
"It is upsetting to see such significant legislation for climate accountability and the divestment of our state pensions from fossil fuels come to a halt,” said Miriam Eide, Coordinating Director, Fossil Free California. “SB 1173 - The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2022 may have died, but we are not giving up. Already we are pivoting to continue building power with our union and community allies and to keep the pressure on the state pensions through future legislation and direct pressure on the pension boards."
“Today is a sad day in the history of California when the forces of the fossil fuel industry defeated the will of the majority of CalSTRS and CalPERS beneficiaries and silenced the voices of the majority of the citizens of our great state. This defeat is just a temporary setback, however.” said James Stone, Southern California Divestment Network. “We will organize to come back stronger to make our demand for fossil fuel divestment heard because fossil fuel companies are driving us toward unimaginable disaster. We must prevail because our common future is at stake.”
“Today’s decision denies young people, frontline communities, and our entire movement the chance to make a real, positive difference for our futures and our environment,” said Marlay’ja Hackett, 15, Youth vs. Apocalypse.
Continuing to invest public money in fossil fuels results in unequal suffering in my community. CalPERS and CalSTRS have been invested in these companies for decades, and during that time, their ‘engagement’ has come nowhere close to stopping the harm to my community or our world. Instead, fossil fuel companies have put billions into disinformation to stop action on climate and pollution, and billions into exploiting more and more dangerous forms of fossil fuel extraction. It is horrifying that legislation to help address these grave injustices didn't even deserve a vote,” said Lizbeth Ibarra, 18, Youth vs. Apocalypse.
Senator Gonzalez represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes the City of Long Beach and portions of South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles including the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, and South Gate. Senator Gonzalez lives in Long Beach with her family.
Fossil Free California works to end financial support for climate-damaging fossil fuels and promotes the transition to a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Their campaigns center on pressuring California's state pensions to divest from fossil fuels.
Southern California Divestment Network is a growing group of staff and faculty at colleges in southern California who are advocating for the divestment of their university endowments and their CalPERS and CalSTRS pensions.
Youth Vs. Apocalypse is a diverse group of young climate justice activists working together to lift the voices of youth, in particular youth of color and working-class youth. Their collective action aims to fight for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world.