Board of Aldermen Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Fossil Fuel Divestment

Exciting campaign news!

On June 26, th Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution urging individuals, colleges and universities, foundations, and governments to divest their funds from publicly-traded fossil fuel companies.

The vote marks a milestone for the divestment campaign in Somerville. Every member of the Board signed on as a sponsor of the resolution (you should email thanks to your Alderman!). This means all of the Aldermen as well as the Mayor have now come out in support of divestment!

The vote was covered in the Boston Globe and the Somerville Times. You can see the resolution and video of the Alderman’s discussion here.

Originally the resolution called on Retirement Board to sell off the city’s investments in the 200 largest fossil fuel corporations. Hundreds of residents signed petitions in support of that demand. However, as members of the City’s retirement system, the Aldermen were forbidden by the State’s Ethics Commission to vote on the matter due to a potential conflict of interest. In response, Mark Niedergang (Ward 5) and Rebekah Gewirtz (Ward 6), in cooperation with members of Fossil Free Somerville, developed an amended resolution designed to express the Board’s general opinion in support of divestment.

While the decision of whether or not to divest ultimately rests with the Retirement Board, the Board of Aldermen’s vote communicates democratic, grassroots support for the move. The focus of the divestment campaign now switches to the Retirement Board.

As always, we are looking for people to get involved in the campaign. We particularly need support from city workers and retirees. If you can help in any way and/or would like to get involved, please reach out!