Ethics concerns table vote on fossil-fuel petition

By Jeremy F. van der Heiden

“The Somerville Board of Aldermen held a special public hearing Thursday, March 13, after a petition was signed by 129 registered voters that called for the city to take several actions toward divesting from fossil-fuel companies. The specific target of this particular petition was the Somerville Retirement Board.

Although the hearing would have ended with a vote on the item, which included such calls to action as urging the Retirement Board to identify holdings that include fossil fuels and cease any new investments into these firms, among several others, an unexpected statement prevented this right from the outset.”

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Somerville residents urge divestment from fossil fuel companies in city pension plan

By Monica Jimenez

“The Somerville Retirement Board should withdraw its investments in fossil fuel companies, said two dozen people at a public hearing the aldermen held March 13.

Everyone who spoke during the two-hour hearing in the aldermen’s chamber supported adopting a resolution for the Retirement Board to divest from the fossil fuel industry, citing the industry’s negative effect on the climate and the importance of making sound investments.

Cambridge resident Peter Saint Clair, who retired from work as a Somerville firefighter in 2010 and receives a pension from the city, compared divesting to fire prevention. With climate change will come natural disasters, which will overwhelm cities’ resources, said Saint Clair, who has responded to several.

“The longer we wait to address this, the more painful and difficult it will be. We’re talking about acting now to prevent the worst consequences from occurring,” said Saint Clair said. “It seems a really small step compared to what’s needed, but it’s a beginning.” ”

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Somerville’s Board of Aldermen set to vote on fossil fuel divestment

By Fossil Free Somerville

“In response to a petition signed  by 129 registered Somerville voters, the City of Somerville’s Board of Aldermen  has announced a public hearing to discuss a resolution urging the city to divest its pension funds from fossil fuel companies. The hearing, scheduled for  Thursday March 13 at 6:00 p.m., marks the culmination of a yearlong effort led  by Fossil Free Somerville, the community group who organized the petition  effort. The proposed resolution urges the Somerville Retirement Board to  immediately cease any new investments in fossil fuel companies, and fully divest  from direct holdings and commingled funds within five years. While the decision  of whether or not to divest ultimately rests with the retirement board, approval  by the Board of Aldermen would communicate democratic, grassroots support for  the strategy.”

Read more in the Somerville Times