Fossil fuel-funded cop kills California climate legislation

June 21, 2022

California — Today amidst a historic mega-drought, wildfires, and fossil-fueled public health crises, Assemblymember Jim Cooper, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement, refused to allow Senate Bill 1173, California’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, to be heard in his committee. This one-man veto allows the state’s pensions to continue to invest billions from public funds into the fossil fuel industry, for now.

This decision is a moral failure that disproportionately impacts young peopleIndigenous communitiescommunities of color, and low-income communitiesClimate chaos has already cost California billions in damages and health costs from fossil fuel pollution and climate disasters. Jim Cooper, who has just been elected Sacramento County Sheriff, has reported $36,350 in Big Oil campaign contributions from this election season alone.

Since the bill was introduced in February, it has gained the support of 143 unions, cities, and organizations, inspiring Californians to make thousands of calls, write nearly 20,000 letters, and organize dozens of meetings with legislators to advocate for SB 1173. All across the state, the fossil fuel industry’s power to kill climate legislation has been exposed. The coalition promises to return with similar legislation next year, and will turn up the pressure directly on CalPERS and CalSTRS to live up to their fiduciary duty. 

Youth organizers will gather tomorrow morning at the Capitol for an action and press conference to chart the path forward to pension divestment.

“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.” 

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