Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Legislation & Governance

Recently Introduced Divestment Bill Would Affect PERA Investments

PERA investments
Photo credit: solarseven – 1213574690 – iStock-GettyImages

In this story:

  • A new divestment bill would limit PERA’s investment options
  • PERA’s Board has stated that PERA serves the singular purpose of ensuring the retirement security of Colorado’s current and former public servants

A bill recently introduced in the Colorado House would limit the investments PERA has access to, which could affect the ability to maximize the long-term risk-adjusted return for members.

Bill Summary

If passed, the bill, HB 21-1246, would do the following:

  • Require PERA’s Board to create an exclusion list of all direct investments PERA has in fossil fuel companies.
  • Within 6 months after completing the exclusion list, the Board would be required to determine whether divestment from the companies on the exclusion list complies with the Board’s fiduciary obligations.
  • If the Board determines that divestment from any company on the exclusion list does comply with its fiduciary duty, the Board would be required to divest from those companies on the exclusion list.
  • And the Board would be required to cease new direct investments in any company that is a fossil fuel company.
  • Beginning one year after the effective date of the bill, the Board would be required to ensure that no money or assets of the fund are invested in an indirect investment vehicle unless the Board is satisfied that such indirect investment vehicle is unlikely to have in excess of 2% of its assets directly or indirectly invested in fossil fuel companies.

The Position of PERA’s Board

PERA opposes divestment efforts unless such opposition is inconsistent with its fiduciary duty and recommends the legislature thoughtfully consider such proposals with caution and fiduciary care.

Per the Board’s Statement on Divestment, PERA serves the singular purpose of ensuring the retirement security of Colorado’s current and former public servants. Global issues are difficult to prioritize and proper recourse falls beyond the duty of the retirement system.

The Problem With Divestment

Divestment is expensive.

Requiring PERA to divest comes with significant costs – including costs to research, sell, and replace its fossil fuel investments. This bill would cost millions of dollars just to implement and does not include the opportunity cost of continued investment in the securities that meet the stated criteria.

Divestment is a slippery slope.

Just in the past several years, advocacy campaigns have pressed pension funds to divest from countless industries for varying reasons. Divestment could cost PERA members more by limiting the investable universe and PERA’s ability to generate the investment returns that make their retirement benefit possible. PERA’s investment program has generated over $69 billion over the last 30 years – returns that fund benefits and fuel local economies across the state.

Divestment is not effective.

Divestment mandates are a blunt instrument designed to impose economic hardship on the subject companies, but often result in assets simply being transferred from one investor to another with no impact on the company’s financial position. To make a change you need a voice and divestment means leaving the conversation entirely. PERA prefers engagement with companies to promote responsible business practices because it has a real and lasting impact.

PERA’s Investment Framework

PERA’s investment framework has been the focus of previous PERA On The Issues stories, including:

Comments

  1. Fran A Ritz says:

    Leave PERA alone! They have successfully invested for many years. Sounds like socialist take over. Return the funds you borrowed to PERA.

    • Anne Porter says:

      What Representative (s) is sponsoring this bill..
      I am all about letting our voices be heard

    • David S Prok says:

      Seems the Dems in the state legislature are forcing the issue to divest because of Biden’s push for renewables. Some fossils are needed to keep our energy stream functioning. Recall what happened in Texas storm recently which paralyzed areas. This is part of the Green Deal no doubt.

      • Victoria Barriga says:

        What happened in Texas had nothing to do with renewable energy or fossil fuel energy for that matter. It happened because money was not invested to account for climate change realities and because Texas created a stand alone grid which meant they could not receive assistance from other states.

    • Randall Kouba says:

      Leave us alone!!!

    • Rex Westen says:

      Getting rid of energy stocks turns out not to make any financial difference.
      https://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/08/no-ditching-fossil-fuels-wont-wreck-your-retirement/
      I think PERA needs to review these investments – long term it is a dying market. And they could certainly stand to put the money in something better – I am not impressed with PERA’s investment strategies or past history.

      • Lamont Whiteis says:

        Then why aren’t you on the board, Wes? This is a socialist effort to destroy the oil industry. I hope it doesn’t happen.

    • Arnold P Wehofer says:

      I disagree with HB21-1246. PERA has an obligation to secure responsible financial returns for retirees. While climate change and clean energy are important issues, divesting from fossil fuels removes a sound investment option. Fossil fuels are still an important energy role in the U.S. energy infrastructure and are an important global strategic pillar for the U.S. PERA’s fossil fuel investments are still a strong national investment. Like all other ethical investments, PERA’s portfolio model/mix, financial returns, energy innovation and energy supply/demand factors should be the basis to steer the natural course for PERA’s energy industry investments.

      • Mark Gosselin says:

        I agree with this post completely. In addition, oil companies are investing heavily in alternative energy research. Divesting in these companies could actually slow the transition to cleaner energy sources.

      • Gayle S says:

        Well said. I totally agree with you.

    • Dennis Weitzel says:

      What can we as PERA members do to stop this????

    • John Coco says:

      YES!!!
      Certain people in this state have been trying to take away our retirement for years! Tell me; what does this state have to offer to people thinking of moving here?? We have some of the lowest wages for teachers, police and state workers. Having fun in our mountains is a short term perk-try living on an average teacher’s retirement when you are 75!! and now this???

    • gg says:

      This issue was cited in PERA’s last newsletter. I immediately emailed the following to both of the Bill’s sponsors and copied the entire House Finance Committee. The Bill is scheduled to be heard on April 19th. I suggest others send similar emails to the Bill’s sponsors and the committee members (https://leg.colorado.gov/committees/finance/2021-regular-session).
      ——————-

      Dear Representative Sirota and Senator Jacquez Lewis,

      You both have a lot of nerve injecting your obvious personal social agendas (i.e. climate change) into PERA. I am about to be a PERA retiree and want to be sure that PERA survives. Almost every year or two or three, politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) constantly introduce bills attacking PERA’s funds. I am so sick of it and your Bill is just another unjustifiable blatant attempt to do the same. What makes your attempt worse is that it has nothing to do with improving the financial health of PERA. To say that I am angry is an understatement.

      Personally, I have no problem with trying to clean up our environment and “make a difference,” as the case may be. However, such efforts should have absolutely NOTHING to do with PERA. “Colorado state law outlines the fiduciary responsibility that all PERA Trustees have: to carry out their functions solely in the interest of members and benefit recipients and for the sole purpose of providing benefits and defraying reasonable expenses incurred in performing such duties. This means that all Trustees, regardless if they are elected, appointed, or ex officio, serve as fiduciaries who protect the assets of the PERA trust funds.” (https://www.copera.org/sites/default/files/documents/serving.pdf). Your Bill completely interferes with that statutory mandate. Here’s an idea….let PERA do its job.
      Divesting from your targeted fossil fuel companies may result in a loss of positive financial returns thereby hurting the market value of PERA’s investments and exacerbating PERA’s current unfunded liability status. Free market forces have already caused fossil fuel companies to adapt to cleaner technologies over recent years. At present, there is absolutely nothing illegal about PERA investing in fossil fuel companies, especially if doing so is in the best financial interest of PERA. Instead, your Bill is simply a judgmental, “holier than thou,” personal social agenda statement. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I hope you will reconsider and withdraw your Bill and focus on other legislative ideas (e.g. tax incentives) to effectuate your social agenda.

      Sincerely,

    • Cherie Roberton says:

      I agree! Another trickle down effect of the “green energy agenda” that isn’t green at all.

    • Cherie Roberton says:

      I agree! Another socialist agenda item.

    • gg says:

      I’ll try again. The divestment Bill is ludicrous. You all need to email the committee members (https://leg.colorado.gov/committees/finance/2021-regular-session) as I did below:
      —————————–
      Dear Representative Sirota and Senator Jacquez Lewis,

      You both have a lot of nerve injecting your obvious personal social agendas (i.e. climate change) into PERA. I am about to be a PERA retiree and want to be sure that PERA survives. Almost every year or two or three, politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) constantly introduce bills attacking PERA’s funds. I am so sick of it and your Bill is just another unjustifiable blatant attempt to do the same. What makes your attempt worse is that it has nothing to do with improving the financial health of PERA. To say that I am angry is an understatement.

      Personally, I have no problem with trying to clean up our environment and “make a difference,” as the case may be. However, such efforts should have absolutely NOTHING to do with PERA. “Colorado state law outlines the fiduciary responsibility that all PERA Trustees have: to carry out their functions solely in the interest of members and benefit recipients and for the sole purpose of providing benefits and defraying reasonable expenses incurred in performing such duties. This means that all Trustees, regardless if they are elected, appointed, or ex officio, serve as fiduciaries who protect the assets of the PERA trust funds.” (https://www.copera.org/sites/default/files/documents/serving.pdf). Your Bill completely interferes with that statutory mandate. Here’s an idea….let PERA do its job.
      Divesting from your targeted fossil fuel companies may result in a loss of positive financial returns thereby hurting the market value of PERA’s investments and exacerbating PERA’s current unfunded liability status. Free market forces have already caused fossil fuel companies to adapt to cleaner technologies over recent years. At present, there is absolutely nothing illegal about PERA investing in fossil fuel companies, especially if doing so is in the best financial interest of PERA. Instead, your Bill is simply a judgmental, “holier than thou,” personal social agenda statement. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I hope you will reconsider and withdraw your Bill and focus on other legislative ideas (e.g. tax incentives) to effectuate your social agenda.

      Sincerely,

    • Cleola Spikes says:

      I feel that they should let us continue as we have been. This is a plan that has
      worked for years.

    • Susan Weckbaugh says:

      It’s a government takeover, whatever label. I agree. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fight this stupidity.

    • Linda says:

      Email the bill’s 2 sponsors. You can email them directly from this post.

    • John Brzeinski says:

      Pre-pandemic ,Colorado was near the top of the states economically with regards to employment. Now we are in the bottom 5. The state legislature should focus on this critical issue and leave investment issues up to PERA. Manage your own portfolio as you see fit and let the experts take care of PERA.

    • Georgia Locker says:

      I believe that PERA is being naive in not divesting from Oil and Gas. Many of the companies are in financial trouble, borrowing large amounts of money to continue drilling. They are polluting our air, not capturing gases well that are emitted. We will not be able to sustain life if we do not reign in the pollution and go to clean energy. I would applaud PERA divesting from Oil and Gas, putting that money into clean energy. And, remember, wells do not go away, ever. They will each be plugged and abandoned, but they will never go away. They must be checked on a regular basis, and plugged again, as needed. An example of what can happen with any well is Firestone.

    • Tim P McClanahan says:

      That’s a bunch of crap. They have no right to tell you where you can invest our money. Sounds like the cancel culture. You do realize our pay comes from the sale of fossil fuels. So we are having to pay more into PERA to make it solvent. And now the state is trying to do everything to make it worse.

    • Wendall says:

      Total agreement. We do not need the green new deal.!

    • Mary Lou Brandebery says:

      The board should be able to invest in what they deem best for PERA.
      Socialism and GREEN NEW DEAL are not our best interest.

    • Judy Hall says:

      I just sent an email to my House Representative to oppose this poorly thought out bill. Please do the same and get the word out to your representative.

    • JAMES ROSS says:

      AMEN. IT’S ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO DRIVE AMERICA TOWARD THE NEW GREEN DEAL. CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT OUR ECONOMY WOULD BE LIKE WITHOUT OIL/GAS AND ONLY WIND MILLS AND SOLAR PANELS. WE SHOULD MAKE SURE THE LEGISLATORS BEHIND THIS BILL ARE DEFEATED IN THE NEXT ELECTION.

    • Suzanne J Long says:

      PLEASE leave PERA the way it is at the present time. PERA has a good system NOW — it is about as good a plan as possible. I am most grateful for my PERA deposit each month. I never expected a CO Retirement as I didn’t believe I’d worked for the State long enough. SO–it was a wonderful surprise when I retired in2013 to also have a CO retirement as well as the KY one If it weren’t for both of these, I would not be able to make ends meet. MY THANKS for this and I hope you can keep things the same.

    • Betty J Goode says:

      Do not make PERA Divest!!!!!!!!!!

    • L M Brassem says:

      I agree with the majority. Leave PERA alone. This socialist crap mirrors our present government and will be the end of PERA and the US. I am sure that the PERA investment officers are more qualified than the self righteous jerks trying to politicize the investment portfolio of PERA.

  2. Ryan Christy, CFA says:

    Most people of influence seem to agree that divestment is not an effective way to fight an issue.

    I don’t think divestment will benefit members’ retirement income.

    The fight will cost a lot of money.

    Let’s save it.

    • gg says:

      You’re a CFA. See my reply to commenter “Fran Ritz”.

    • Ms Domonic says:

      I believe that this is yet another way to waste our funds! LEAVE PERA ALONE! We worked hard for our future and we don’t need people coming in making it POLITICALLY CORRECT just to support the current agenda. Investments are supposed to be personal and private no matter if they are done for a group of people or not! I believe this is overstepping your authority! When does POLITICAL CORRECTNESS STOP? And when does Privacy start? We as a group, have the right to say we wish to remain as is. Not because it makes you look good or morally right or wrong on an issue why is it we are so eager to be too far left or too far right? What happened to BALANCE? Fine you don’t like what the investment strategy is the let’s discuss it as a group don’t force it! We have rights! We have and deserve to be a vital part of the decision making process! Yes we all want our world to be better be more responsible. But doing things to break your members to accomplish your goals is unacceptable and unprofessional and not the way that you’re supposed to be working! We are your past your present and your future! Logic dictates that you’d want to lower your amount of money to the investment by finding a replacement that’s equal to or more substantial have you that to give us? To woo us from this account? You see when you are dealing with lives people whom you are giving less than the percentage of growth of tax rates and income debt you have a time in history where they are discussing taking Medicare and social security away this is a lifeline one of many that some look at as a “ONLY SOURCE “ for their current income and future income. When you fluctuate from 10% to 5% to 3% to 1% what are you telling us?? We are already on the lowest side of the scale of retirement income. We are if we were smart started a program that we paid into it with more than we could afford when we could work! Some of us didn’t get to go til full retirement age and life happens when life happens you look towards this as a safe keeping of all those funds you had wisely put away. Now you want to not only mince them apart but overwhelm people with disabilities people who need this income and all to be politically correct?! Well I suggest that you come up with 10 companies that can give us the same and more value over the same period of timeframe show us legitimate income and stability in these markets give us proof that you are not just sinking our money into companies that will lose our funds our ability to keep supporting ourselves now tomorrow and in our future plus show us the futures on these companies what the prospectives are and why we should think about it? Give us reasons why why we should change our paths! As a financial planner would show us the reasoning pros and cons for and against fir staying and for leaving. We deserve better! We’ve saved the state of Colorado numerous times over numerous years from shutting down the people who worked for it did that now repay us in kind! You keep taking and taking and taking, soon you won’t have any TRUST! Show the people who put their careers, their families, their lives on the line we are worth it! Don’t just make unilateral decisions without consulting us! WE DESERVE BETTER AND WE WANT TO GET BETTER FROM YOU WHO ARE WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE OR HAVE YOU LOST YOUR WAY??

      Don’t make decisions based solely on the political climate
      2. Involve the PERA members as a whole give us the facts PROS AND CONS LET US SEE WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT
      3. As stated give us at least 10-20 companies that are worthy to replace the ones you want to remove and validate your reasons and give us the financial support to make a decision the prospectus information that will show us that these companies will be as financially capable of doing and making us the same or better money now and in the future give us the information to show us the length of the companies service their growth their losses how their market shares have fared in past and current markets you just can’t force change like this that keeps causing the financial instability of the whole financial system of your PERA SERVICE EMPLOYEES CURRENT AND RETIRED AND FUTURE EMPLOYEES ! You keep taking and taking and taking but you don’t have any idea of what you’re doing how your attacks on the PERA SYSTEM affects people maybe if you have to live through the ones who have the worst scenarios for a month maybe three you’d have more compassion more understanding of what changes can and do affect the people who are just numbers on a piece of paper to you. But watching myself and others live so cautiously on less that a $1000 a month well it’s disturbing to me and it’s truly horrible as we worked hours of overtime that we never got paid for days of furloughs that created our time with the State to be different than it truly was and then our HAS TO BE LOWER THAN IT TRULY SHOULD HAVE BEEN! All to save a state that seems to be trying to show us time and time again how ungrateful it has become! Why don’t you get one of us whose on disability and who lives in dispair on these boards so that we may speak bs just doing your blanket changes? There are many many people who are intellectually able and could be sound ethical advisors to these types of situations and give insight into the people perspective especially when they are going to be affected. You’d have knowledge of the outside views prior to putting such bills in place or into consideration for action give us opportunity to speak on the opposition or see the pros from it! So we can help or give you insight into the why it may be received so badly! Please don’t do this bill with out the constructive thoughts of the people that you are affecting! Give them a voice give them a chance to research your alternatives but don’t just do it to be politically correct. Do it because it is the right thing to do for ALL THE EMPLOYEES THAT SACRIFICED AND CONTINUE TO DO SO FIR THE GOOD OF THE STATR OF COLORADO ! We love our State and is why we dedicated our lives to it some of us are both first and second generation employees some more so. Please show us that dedication to Public Service and to our State isn’t taken lightly and we your current future and past employees who have worked numerous hours days years furloughs and been through times of no increases for years that we are worth it for you to do right by us by giving us the opportunity to do research to give us the information to show us if in fact this is a better way that you can show us future past growth losses gains and length of the businesses S $P future 500 reports and the gains and losses over last 10 years where we can justify the investment. Show us these companies and I mean these companies are virtuous beyond reproach as everything is a glass with the ability to have a stone cast through it these days so make certain if we were to change courses would we be safe? There would be no scandalous and or negative comments or press from any of these companies you are suggesting? Is there anything that can keep us where we are like algae or new technologies that could be groundbreaking for the future? Why must we abandon where we are? If it’s just because of political issues and reason I say let us be. But if you can provide sound companies making better profit margins and where we won’t take massive losses to change over and it doesn’t create losses on the millions/ billions scale then show us why it’s feasible and why now? What makes right now the most pertinent time to do it? Is it a bargaining chip? Is it vengeance? Is it just another way to break your State workers backs? Tell me, what is the true agenda of this Bill? What else lies in hiding in this bill?

    • Devon Reynolds says:
    • Wendall says:

      agree

    • Betty J Goode says:

      Leave PERA alone. They are doing a good job and this will only be disastrous!

  3. Joseph Thompson says:

    first you don’t put in the state allotment for PERA funds – now you trying to limit investment opportunities with fossil fuels – looks like an under the table type situation CO Senate is famous for – fund PERA like you supposed to and stay out of our retirement affairs you crooks

    • Teresa Ryan says:

      I think Polis is setting himself up for a future presidential run. He is making all state departments go to electric vehicles even if they travel all the time in the mountains – no exceptions. BUT the chargers they are putting in at state parks are for the public – not state electric vehicles. Does not make a lot of sense to me!

    • Cherie Roberton says:

      I agree that this is just another sneaky way to take money from PERA and hamstring it’s ability to become fully funded.

    • Kent Abernethy says:

      Click the link at the top of the summary fo Bill’s sponsors and details. bill, HB 21-1246

    • Wendall says:

      agree

  4. Rick says:

    What is the best way to contact our state legislators to let them know our position on such legislation? I am siding with PERA on this one!

  5. Nancy Bujnowski says:

    Let’s keep the politics out of PERA! We’ve given our all to the public and our retirement should be secure – not regulated by the current political trends . It’s bad enough, any time we spent investing in social security is regulated by the state when we receive PERA retirement benefits, now they are trying to dip into the ways our PERA retirement is maintained and subtract from that.

    • Susan says:

      Thank you, Nancy. I’ve read comments only a few times and I get very upset when people throw their political views on an issue. We are all well educated enough to know that this labeling is not a solution. Please use your wisdom to come up with avenues for action and solutions and share them with us. Otherwise our voices are wasted on calling out labels.

    • Debra Blesh says:

      i totally agree. Keep state government out of ruining a good standing retirement system

    • Dean Stegman says:

      Is this politics or economics?

  6. Richard Sullivan says:

    Who is sponsoring this initiative? We need to let them know that this is a “penny wise and pound foolish” idea.

  7. Dennis Weitzel says:

    Can someone from PERA tell us what action we need to influence the outcome????

  8. Rex Westen says:

    PERA should abandon investment in fossil fuels. It is a dying market. Research has show that it will not effect the performance of the portfolio.
    https://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/08/no-ditching-fossil-fuels-wont-wreck-your-retirement/
    And if PERA is trying to encourage deserving companies as stated, it won’t find any in fossil fuels.
    We need to look at the larger issues, and yes, divestment has proven to be an effective tool.

    • Patty J. says:

      Thanks Rex for being a voice of reason!! I agree we need to start getting out of fossil fuels investments.

      • Mary C Koltze says:

        I also agree with Rex. PERA needs to lead, not follow. Move away from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy – it’s progress, it’s the future and it will pay off.

    • Jeff Babcock says:

      Rex, if you would like to take your own funds and invest them in companies that are not in fossil fuels, I support you 100%, BUT leave other retires/employees funds alone. You have no right to dictate how PERA invests all our monies.
      Highest return with low risk is PERA’s fiduciary responsibility to retirees as well as members who are currently employed in state divisions.

    • Joe Arellano says:

      Are you in receipt of funds from PERA? You spend the money, you cash the check and don’t complain about past history, or do you? PERA has been great about investing with our money.

    • Rick Schur says:

      Limiting investment options hurts long-term investment returns; also unless PERA invests in private equity fossil fuel investments or IPOs of fossil fuel companies it does nothing to help climate change since broker purchased investments are already on the market and do nothing for the companies bottom line! Useless legislation only hurts PERA’s bottom line!

    • Tim says:

      If fossil fuels are dieing then they wouldn’t be a good investment. Wouldn’t this result in PERA looking elsewhere for better returns negating the need for legislation affecting PERA’s obligation to keep our pensions funded?

    • Wendall says:

      Totally disagree.

    • Ernest Lucero says:

      It sounds like this divestment issue is more of a political campaign then an actual pera benefit strategy. Let’s keep whats been working if it ain’t broken dont try and fix it.

    • Mike says:

      No No No Leave it alone. They have taken enough money away from us. This is another ploy to put a loop hole in. So they can control their budget to protect them selves during elections. No politician should be able to dictate how our PERA how to spend our money to secure our retirement.
      So Rex if I was to hypothetically say we shouldn’t be investing in Battery companies because of the hazard of waste and the foot print it leaves on the earth. That we shouldn’t invest in any company like this? Just saying.

  9. Ramona says:

    The first thing democrats do is go after PERA! If they are going to do this they need to get rid of the WEP and the GPO immediately!!

    • Christopher Richards says:

      Not so, WEP and GPO were both initiated by Republican legislators, Democrats didn’t want either one. Republicans have been trying to privatize public employment (PERA) for decades, this fact is a clear matter of public record. The issue of divestment from fossil fuel companies is unrelated to the WEP or GPO. As our dependence upon those energy sources decreases, the value of the stock of those companies will drop accordingly, seems a good idea to sell while the prices are still high, but I’d advise to wait for a rebound from the pandemic slow-down before doing so.

      • Ramona says:

        I didn’t say WEP and GPO were democrat initiated. This new crap is. If democrats are going to destroy our retirement with this ‘divestment’ crap, they could at least let us pull social security from careers we had before/after PERA careers.

      • Jody Lininger says:

        I agree with Christopher. It hasn’t anything to do with politics. It has to do with what is going on in the world today. Our leaders need to lead with foresight, looking to the future. Fossil fuels are the past. I am interested in what is best for our future with PERA and I believe that fossil fuels will decrease the potential of our investments.

      • J Sullivan says:

        Democrats controlled congress in 1983, introduced the bill setting up WEP and passed it in the Democrat-controlled Congress. It was then passed by the Republican Senate and signed into law by Reagan. Social Security was in a mess back then, so it was a bipartisan attempt to fix it (at our expense). Clearly it didn’t work well for us. I’m in the same boat as you.

        (2020) The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2020 introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and in the House by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) didn’t pass.

        (2021) It has been reintroduced as:“H.R. 82: Social Security Fairness Act of 2021” by another Republican.
        Write or call your Congressional Representative and Senator to let them know what you want, instead of whining about the past. My suggestion: Do it now.

  10. Cecil Stushnoff says:

    I agree with the above statements, especially there is no need to involve politics in a working retirment program that does not belong to politicians. Let the experts do their job, leave PERA alone.

  11. Lynn Pohlod says:

    I agree they should get rid of WEP and GPO. Leave PERA alone.

    • Karen says:

      I agree with this! Even the social security website indicates that the WEP and GPO cause a significant negative impact on retirement.

  12. Ev Vaughan says:

    PERA needs to strongly oppose this house bill. It needs to down to defeat.

  13. Karen McDaniel says:

    How scary! I’m pretty old so maybe PERA will last my lifetime. Unfortunately, it may not last long enough to secure my daughter’s retirement! I can still remember our annual 3% increase!

    • G M SANTO says:

      I see a lot of folks mention the 3% COLA (or annual increase), but many of us were promised 3.5%!!! The entire political machinery of the Governor (Ritter), Legislature, and courts were against us (Justus v. State of Colo. PERA). The Politicians are all scum!

      However, I would offer the following words of comfort about our retirement funds… they’re absolutely fine and always have been, the politicians and PERA Board & Staff (PERA B.S.) just play the imaginary fiscal crisis card so the former can renege on paying the employers’ contributions (to create a crisis) and like PERA B.S. spend the money, they don’t pay us, on their friends and cronies. The fiscal crisis card is really a credit card they use and we pay for!

  14. Steve Allerton says:

    I see no evidence that divestment in fossil fuels meets it’s intended goal. In fact, I see evidence to the contrary.

  15. Brian Lessman says:

    Stay the course PERA. Your primary responsibility is fiduciary in nature. Let the market work for itself. Do not become a pawn in a political chess game and market manipulation. If fossil fuels decline as a result of social or political pressure in the long term then PERA can review its portfolio as a fiduciary agent. Until then, stay the course as an independent entity whose primary responsibility is to its members.

  16. Roy Railsback says:

    The sponsors of this bill: Sponsors: Rep. Emily Sirota(303) 866-2910 emily.sirota.house@state.co.us and Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (720) 696-0497 sonyajlewis@gmail.com

  17. Pat Wood says:

    I also would like to know the names of the representatives who are sponsoring this bill! They will not get my vote!

  18. Cara Luneau says:

    There are many obvious benefits to being a PERA retiree, but an extremely frustrating (and potentially devastating) aspect is not being able to count on what we were promised. My pension is relatively small and if legislators continue to whittle it away I will not have enough to live on. How is this reasonable? I no longer have earned income. And please don’t blame democrats for this. Fossil fuels are no longer viable. There must be a better way though, to change things in the energy sector.

  19. Steve Fromme says:

    This does nothing to secure PERA’s investment security. We need to keep politics out of this and vote against it.

  20. JLW says:

    Woke gone wild. What does that do to my pension that you have cheated me out of promised COLA when purchased service.

  21. Elvis Presley says:

    We shouldn’t have to pay for the global warming nonsense Vote a couple of conservatives in the house to balance the power

  22. judy kriss says:

    This is a bad bill based on political fodder. Shame on the sponsors.
    This is a no pass – definitely opposed

  23. DR. GERALD CALVIN says:

    Providing names, addresses, and phone number of state legislators would be helpful so we can write, call, email, or mail comments to those who are in charge of changing the laws that affect our retirement funds, current and future. Thanks for listening

    • Cherie Roberton says:

      That would be very helpful. We need to inundate them with our comments so they know we are listening and watching what they are doing.

  24. Rose Johnson says:

    When I retire, I want to be assured that I will have enough to survive on. It is ridiculous that they want to dictate what PERA can and cannot invest in. If fossil fuel provides a good return, why should should politics play a part in possibly further decreasing the amount that PERA has in their investment portfolio.

  25. Sharon Kelly says:

    I think the federal gov’t took our social security away because we had a state pension.

    • Tom howarth says:

      I worked 20+ years before I went into Teaching. I got hosed on my Social Security.
      Thank you Ronnie Raygun

      • J Sullivan says:

        What political party controlled congress in 1983? Democrat. Who sponsored the bill? A Democrat. It was passed in the Democrat-controlled Congress. Passed by the Senate (Republican) and signed into law by Reagan. Social Security was in a mess back then, so it was a bipartisan attempt to fix it. Clearly it didn’t work well for us. Instead of blaming a great president, spread it around. I’m in the same boat as you.

        Legislation to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has been introduced in the Senate. The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2020 was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and is companion legislation that was introduced not long ago in the House by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX).

        Get the Democrats behind the repeal. Write or call your Congressional Representative and Senator to let them know what you want, instead of whining about the past. Do it now.

      • J Sullivan says:

        What political party controlled congress in 1983? Democrat. Who sponsored the bill? A Democrat. It was passed in the Democrat-controlled Congress. Passed by the Senate (Republican) and signed into law by Reagan. Social Security was in a mess back then, so it was a bipartisan attempt to fix it. Clearly it didn’t work well for us. Instead of blaming a great president, spread it around. I’m in the same boat as you.

        Legislation to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) was introduced in the Senate (2020) The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2020 was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and is companion legislation that was introduced not long ago in the House by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX).
        It has been reintroduced as:“H.R. 82: Social Security Fairness Act of 2021” by another Republican.
        Get the Democrats behind the repeal. Write or call your Congressional Representative and Senator to let them know what you want, instead of whining about the past. Do it now.

  26. Cara Meyers says:

    I agree with the majority of commenters. Pera should not divest in hydrocarbon companies aka “ fossil fuels”. Do any of these people who hate the energy industry realize that their clothes, medicines almost everything in ones household ( including those smartphones and computers) come from byproducts and the energy needed to manufacture all these items? Its not about combustion engines, pipeline and plants run on these fuels vs. “renewables” ( which aren’t exactly recyclable or environmentally friendly when their parts need to manufactured, replaced and landfilled). People who demonize our traditional energy sources need to go live in soddies, mud huts , tents made from non synthetic fiber, draw water from a creek somewhere and only use their feet for transportation. And yes go hunt and gather your food and fuel too. When you are ready to live this way again then you can do away with “ fossil fuels”. I prefer the light , heat and indoor plumbing myself as my grandmother used to say. NO to this ludicrous bill.

    • Cherie Roberton says:

      Thank you for the facts that back up what your statements are saying. Too many people believe what they are being fed instead of doing the research that shows “green energy” relies heavily on fossil fuels and is detrimental to the environment.

  27. Cherie Roberton says:

    This is another attempt to undermine PERA. I think we need to know how and who to contact. They need to hear our voices and stop steamrolling legislation that is detrimental to PERA and its members who have contributed and are contributing to this retirement plan. The government has no place determining the future of PERA. This is another example of WOKE socialist ideology.

    • Kaye E VAN HEE says:

      We definatly fight this bill. We are being led into a socialists country. Take a look at what Colorado leaders are trying to do to our ranchers and agriculture. Lies spread and propagandist. I’m 76 years old. Too late to go back to work. Don’t let them tell us what we can and cannot invest . PERA has done a great job in the past. Tell government to keep their ideas out of PERA.

  28. Doyle says:

    The legislators need to keep their nose out of PERA! First of all you do not fund your obligated portion, then think you have the brains to tell PERA how to invest our money, which you absolutely do not! Do not limit investments that are still viable just because some liberal, climate change nut says so!

  29. robert amick says:

    The legislators sponsoring this bill are effectively cutting off their noses to spite their face as the old adage suggest. Like it or not, fossil fuels cannot be instantly replaced with solar and wind. Climate change is urgent but must be transitioned gradually. 47 percent of energy generation is still provided by carbon based fuels, mostly coal and natural gas. Divesting PERA investments away from energy companies will not change this fact for the foreseeable future. The PERA retirees and current State employees should not be compromised by this ill-considered destructive move to wield what some government legislators and administrators may perceive is a punitive measure against energy companies which in reality may result in directly reducing guaranteed retirement benefits for hundreds of thousands of State retirees and employees who have been promised these benefits after a career of lifetime service to the State of Colorado.

  30. Phil says:

    I am used to republicans attacking PERA over the years. This is to much, what these 2 progressive radicals hope to accomplish by putting a permanent hit on PERA/ Teachers retirement funding is beyond common sense. Fossil fuels will be around for decades to come, and it will be powering your electric car. WAKE UP teachers and retirees, get the phone tree’s going. Where are you Boulder, Denver and Arapahoe teacher unions? Let’s Roll Listed below are the 2 back-stabbing Democratic Representatives and the numbers for their office. Call them and your area rep. District 9 Arapahoe & Denver counties. Emily Sirota 303-866-2910. Sonya Jaquez Lewis Boulder 303-866-5291

    • Cherie Roberton says:

      Thank you for the information. I was just going to post the contact information for these so called “Representatives”. I was not a teacher but I am a retiree. I will be contacting them as soon as I calm down enough to be polite. These people need to be voted out of office.

    • Devon Reynolds says:

      Make sure to tell them that fossil fuels are bad investments though! Funds that divested do better. https://ieefa.org/major-investment-advisors-blackrock-and-meketa-provide-a-fiduciary-path-through-the-energy-transition/

    • G M SANTO says:

      Phil – Right on!

      Cherie – Don’t be too polite, or their staff just sends you an auto-reply (truth is just say “opposed to HB-1246,” ‘cuz all they do is count for and against contacts, really that’s their staff members’ job), the politicians never read anything not attached to a check.

      As for Devon Renolyds … Please quit shilling for so-called socially conscious funds, and stick to the topic that politicians (and others with an agenda) shouldn’t micro-manage our retirement funds in order to promote their causes!

  31. Monica Huso says:

    What percent of PERA’s investments are connected with fossil fuel companies at this time?

    • RJ says:

      You are absolutely correct. First PERA needs to inform us what %age of their funds are invested in Fossil Fuels and then we can talk about the danger of disinvesting. As it is, Fossil fuels are a dying industry even Volvo, Ford, VW etc. are running away from gasoline-based cars. Its a good move to look at the portfolio and at least take some actions before the funds take a hit. I myself do not put any of my money in Fossil Fuels – Casinos – yes, CBD – yes – Fossils NO!

  32. Mick McCormac says:

    The legislators need to keep their over reaching hands out if PERA. Once politicians get involved it only leads to bad decisions.

    • Steve K says:

      Agreed Mick, remember when Governor Owens and his group of legislatures thought it would be a good idea to incentivise early retirement for State and PERA employees, & then the dot com bubble burst & then the great recession hit and PERA went from over 100% funded to less than 60%.
      We have not recovered since.
      Yea, the State Government makes for a poor pension fund investment advisor.

  33. Phillip says:

    Sorry, if you voted Democrat your comments should wholeheartedly affirm this wonderful bill. Just think of the losses PERA will sustain as a result as redistributing our wealth for a very good cause.

  34. Susan Taylor says:

    While I am all for keeping our environment green and clean, I am very much against using retirees money to take a stance on this. The only reason that PERA should divest from fossil fuels, is if fossil fuels are no longer a lucrative investment. Until then, it is frightening that our legislators would use Colorado state retirees’ money and financial future to take a stance on anything that does not have to do with keeping PERA financially healthy. !! It is not their place! I, too, would like to know who sponsored this bill and who in the legislature is supporting it.

  35. Kenneth Chernoff says:

    Let PERA device which investments are appropriate for it’s mandate. The country and Colorado are still dependant on fossil fuels. When that changes these investments will no longer be appropriate. I wish that time was now, but it isn’t.

  36. Judith Jones says:

    I support divestment of PERA funds from all fossil fuel industries. The science is unequivocal: global warming is real, it is driven by fossil fuel emissions, and if it continues, it will be devastating to all life on the planet, including us. If we are able to control emissions in the few years the best science tells us we have to act, the industry will be left with vast stranded assets and investors will be left with huge losses. If we do not control emissions then we all face a very grim future. That is why many faith-based, government, for profit, educational and other groups have divested either partially or entirely. As public employees, we need to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

    • RJ says:

      Well said Judith. I myself do not put any of my money in fossil fuels. Casinos, CBD – yes — Fossils NO.

    • John Barton says:

      How much of the computer, tablet or phone you used to enter this really dumb message is made from plastics? Do you realize that plastics are made from petroleum? Do you wear Nylon or other synthetic fabrics? Those are products of the companies you argue against.

      • Wendall says:

        Right on.

      • Judith Jones says:

        Actually, plastic is also a commodity that is doing significant damage to the ecosystem. In most cases, there are alternative materials that are less destructive. Those things that we cannot find a replacement for would require a tiny fraction of current oil reserves to continue producing. That might reduce profits for some corporations, but eventually we are going to have to pay for our choices. Nature offers us two options: a small price now if we change, and a very large one later if we don’t.

    • Guy Thoudy says:

      I would be more concerned about the actions of countries like India, China, North Korea and Russia and how they continue to destroy the environment, rather than how despicable the investment of a few million dollars of our money is turning the world toward oblivion. Speaking of which when was the last time one of impeccable state leaders took a look at Iran?

      • Judith Jones says:

        By this logic every country which is not the worst current polluter in the world would have an excuse to avoid doing anything to mitigate the problem. We cannot act to make better policy in other countries; we can only do that in our own.

  37. Lloyd Williams says:

    This is just another effort to push the left-wing “woke” agenda. By making in effect a blacklist of companies that won’t buy into this agenda, it makes it harder for companies to resist. It’s time to stop the censorship and bias of the left before it’s too late.

  38. Nancy Fey says:

    Climate change is real and fossil fuel use is a huge issue. I would not be in favor of divestment due to the cost. However, I would like to see no additional investment in fossil fuels. Sometimes one has to look beyond one’s own nose and self interest.

  39. D. EIck says:

    Leave PERA alone. The money there is an earned investment benefit made by employees or employers on behalf of employees. The state doesn’t own those dollars. PERA invested employees and PERA retirees do. Bowing to political and social whims will make us all very poor in the long run, and I, for one, do not want to retire from 30 years of public and community service to be in poverty for the last 20-30 years of my life.
    Maybe I’ll just cash out and invest elsewhere.

  40. David says:

    If you go to https://leg.colorado.gov/find-my-legislator
    You can find your legislator by your district. The site also has the legislators email.

  41. Renee Dupont says:

    Research shows that fossil fuel divestment does NOT have a negative financial effect. In fact, it often has a positive effect. Before you decide to oppose the bill, make sure you have the facts.
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-powerful-new-financial-argument-for-fossil-fuel-divestment

  42. Devon Reynolds says:

    FYI everyone–BlackRock and other major investment firms found that funds that divested from fossil fuels are doing better because of it. Fossil fuels are draining our retirement! https://ieefa.org/major-investment-advisors-blackrock-and-meketa-provide-a-fiduciary-path-through-the-energy-transition/

    • Phil Helms says:

      Fossil fuels draining our retirement? Can you document that?

    • G M SANTO says:

      “Blackrock”… it should be called “Redrocks” (and not for the Denver Parks’ amphitheater). My experience is that many investment managers (including PERA) love to use Blackrock as a “benchmark” because it’s such a low bar to meet or beat. These investment comments sound like something a shill would post?

  43. Judy lubow says:

    It makes good economic sense for PERA to divest from fossil fuels. The oil and gas industry is in a downward financial spiral caused by increasing regulations, decreasing profits, and increasing and effective competition from renewables. Bankruptcies in the industry are exploding. It actually is fiscally irresponsible for PERA to continue investing in these assets.

  44. Ryan Pleune says:

    I am a public school teacher and PERA fund holder and I support this bill. Proven reserves of coal, oil, and gas are a significant part of the valuation of fossil fuel companies. But to stay within our emissions goals, 80% of current coal reserves, 50% of gas reserves, and 33% of oil reserves must stay in the ground between now and 2050. This means that as the world takes action to prevent climate change, the value of fossil- fuel companies will plummet rapidly.

  45. Sarah Felsen says:

    Personally, I agree with divestment in fossil fuels. These sources of fuel are part of the past. PERA’s managers are savvy, and I am confident that they can find other, more sustainable sources of revenue for me and all of my fellow future pensioners. Thank you for the work you do for us.

  46. Tom Koehler says:

    PERA investment process needs to fully adhere to Fiduciary Duty. Divesting from a sector that has an outsized impact on the systemic risk on the entire portfolio is a large part of that duty.
    They fail to address the systemic risk on the entire portfolio. The investment team at PERA needs to evolve for the protection of the beneficiaries of the plan.

  47. Peter Fessenden says:

    PERA must divest from all fossil fuel companies. I am a career physicist and have studied the physics aspects of climate change and global warming for many years. We are in a crisis and it is absolutely necessary to not only stop all greenhouse gas emissions but to put a giant effort into removing much of the gases already up there. Otherwise there is no avoiding looming catastrophes. Continuing to fund oil, gas and coal is exactly the wrong message to send.

    • Deb says:

      isn’t climate change over history cyclical. Doesn’t the constant building and the destruction of fields, parks, nature, etc for the sake of progress keep our environment from much needed condensation to return to earth as rain.

    • Phil says:

      I have always wanted to speak to an actual scientist regarding climate change. I’m definitely no expert, just an old Environmental Management/ Geography/ Geology college major. I was schooled before the current climate change theology had completely taken over. The concern used to be, if I recall correctly, was yes greenhouse gasses could cause global warming, and acid rain. Acid rain was sure to kill all the fora and fauna at the top of the Appalachian Mountains if just America did not outlaw aerosol spray cans immediately, years ago?

      1) If one looks at the physical geography/ etc. of the earth it is clear that the only thing constant had been change when it comes to climate. If the earth was not either getting cooler or warmer at any given time THAT would be alarming?

      2) One brave skeptical scientist I have listen to pointed out that the time period in which we have been able to “accurately” measure the earth’s complex temp, is the equivalent of “5 seconds in an old mans life.” This scientist pointed out that the models we are alarmed by that show that the earth is warming “faster than it should” are based on flat out guessing, plugging numbers into formulas. And even if we could accurately measure what the “normal rate” of climate change should be, lets say by going back in time and placing our modern scientific instruments all over the earth’s surface, taking into account all its changing micro climates, going back a million years, how in the hell can we measure something as complex as the earth. We cant even predict whats going to happen in the body of a fly or what really gives it life?

      3) Using basic logic, if the City of Boston was laying under a permanent sheet of ice very recently in geological time, do you think our corner of the earth would be in a warming or cooling period?

      4) Although it makes sense that humans activities should have some (unknowable) effect on climate, how in the hell could we know what God and/ or Mother Natures plan is for the current rate of climate change?

      5) I believe the scientific and political community has baptized themselves into climate change as a religion because they know where their funding comes from, government and large corporations, but I understand needing to feed their families, or buy a Tesla. I would go along with it too being sure to never question it in public.

    • Tom says:

      That is why the poles have been free of ice 80% of the last 540 million years. There is not a valid study showing the impact that can be substantiated. Saying that humans have had such an impact since the industrial revolution is presumptuous at best. It would be believable if one party did not have huge benefits by the suggestion.

  48. Phil says:

    Susan Taylor is correct! The only reason not to invest in a fossil fuel company is if there is no profit. Stop – think now, is Shell oil only a gas station? No it is a progressive company investing in future technology’s. Will Shell be making a profit after you are dead and gone? Yes. Should PERA be banned from investing directly in Shell or in funds with Shell if they deem it profitable? No. PERA is one of the best at retirement in the country. And you want to hamper them in doing their best for your retirement income? No.

  49. Pixel Chi says:

    The socialist democrats want control of everything. You voted them in folks, now live with it.

  50. Douglas Moryon says:

    Eliminate WEP!!!! I also stand behind PERA on this issue.

  51. Kathy Reiner says:

    I support this legislation. Climate change is an existential crisis and we need to do everything we can now if we want future generations to have a livable planet. The fossil fuel has lied and covered up the risks of climate change. A report by BlackRock, (https://ieefa.org/major-investment-advisors-blackrock-and-meketa-provide-a-fiduciary-path-through-the-energy-transition/_ the world’s largest investment house, shows that those who have divested have profited not only morally but also financially

    The report’s executive summary states that “no investors found negative performance from divestment; rather, neutral to positive results.” In the conclusion to the report, the BlackRock team used a phrase beloved by investors: divested portfolios “outperformed their benchmarks.”

    PERA should be addressing investment risks and projected losses around the likelihood of stranded assets, fossil fuels that will become unburnable in the wake of global commitments to curb climate change and shift to cleaner, renewable energy.

  52. Henry Osborne says:

    It’s time to invest in alternative energy sources and electric vehicles which are the wave of the future.

    • Thomas Thielemier says:

      Do not mess with investment in carbon fuels unless you allow investment in nuclear power. We must have 24/7 reliable power!

  53. Harv Teitelbaum says:

    On the other hand:
    -An increasing number of reports show that divesting from fossil fuels is leading to improved fund performance.
    -The threat of stranded assets is real.
    -Fossil fuel investments are already under-performing and there is no reason to expect this trend to change.
    -There is a clear trend in US pension funds to divest from these unprofitable and planet-destroying investments .

  54. Laura says:

    Fossil fuel pollution and climate disasters are already disrupting millions of lives. PERA’s move to be Fossil Fuel Free is a smart long term consideration for where our world is going for environmental and social justice. Otherwise we might just end up with disaster, leaving more than PERA in turmoil. The purpose of PERA is long term viability, this helps ensure there is a long term.

  55. Patricia Rundquist says:

    Fossil fuel companies like climate change is destroying so much. Exxon and similar companies see this and are starting to change and invest in alternatives. They understand we cannot sustain living into this world with the carbon etc. I don’t think we should divest as I see the changes coming in some large fossil fuel companies.

  56. Celeste J Rossmiller says:

    It’s high time to divest from fossil fuel industries. Financial benchmark companies are showing that there is NO LOSS and often a modest gain for eliminating fossil fuel companies from investment portfolios. A number of major f.f. companies are beginning to experience bankruptcies because of being replaced by alternative energy sources. For the sake of the Planet, for the sake of our grandchildren and future generations of all species, let’s move into the future now. Colorado has already passed legislation in previous two years to lower our state’s impact on the climate. Let’s have our retirement funds do the same.

  57. Jackie says:
  58. Marilyn Connolly says:

    The State of Colorado legislators should stay out of PERA’s investments. Leave PERA alone. It is solid and makes good investments with choosing what is best for us retirees. And, pay us back our $25 millions that you appropriated from PERA to support your over spending by your liberal Socialistic government. Do not take the choices of PERA away by your BIG GOVERNMENT spending policies!!! LEAVE PERA ALONE. STOP SPENDING!

  59. Leigh says:

    A month ago PERA published an article under the headline “Responsible Investing” (https://peraontheissues.com/issue-spotlight-responsible-investing/). In that article the PERA board explicitly told PERA members that they would not consider ethical issues when making investment decisions – a position they’ve re-stated in this article. This approach is best described as “Irresponsible Investing”.
    I would prefer that the PERA board had consulted members on a responsible investment strategy, but it was clear the board had no intention of doing so. I’m disappointed that the legislature felt it necessary to step in.

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Leigh,
      Thanks for the comment. Just to clarify, PERA’s investment team considers a wide range of factors that could have a financial impact on PERA’s investments, including: carbon emissions, labor rights, natural resource utility, executive oversight, animal welfare, corporate culture, social impact, and others. Investment decisions aren’t based on a single factor alone but instead only after considering all relevant factors.

  60. Duane A. Harris says:

    Here are the names of the two Representatives that are sponsoring and cramming down our throats HB-1246 on divestment. Emily Sirota and Sonya Jaquez Lewis, both Democrats, not that their political affiliation matters, even if they were Republican, or Independent. This idea that Legislators should be given the power to dictate what PERA can or cannot invest in is nothing short of “FORCED COMPLIANCE” If this legislation passes, what’s next? The kind of automobile you’ll drive, clothes you wear, food you eat, etc. Anything that goes against their socialist views. “Green Energy” will only be practical when it can be made affordable, and benevolent and that time is not now! And the quickest way to turn someone away from an idea, is to put their livelihood in jeopardy with this kind of “FORCED COMPLIANCE” their way or the hi-way legislation. Leave PERA to make the best choices as our fiduciary, “Green or Fossil” and keep ALL politicians hands off !! Vote NO on HB-1246.

  61. Cindy Franks says:

    Overreach!

  62. Lorie A. says:

    The State needs to stay out of PERAs investments. I see that PERA opposes it which I would agree with. But, I wonder what that really means? What stance does PERA truly have with those in legislature that make the laws? There are more important issues the legislature should be focusing on then PERA’s investments.

  63. Maris Riegel says:

    Natural gas is a clean fossil fuel. Are we to give that up also?

  64. Kimberly Miller says:

    I support divestment of PERA funds from fossil fuels. There is a likelihood that these assets will become stranded in the wake of replacement energies. As the prices of oil and gas have continued to drop internationally, bankruptcies in the industry have spiked, sending the industry into hundreds of billions of dollars of debt. A report by BlackRock, the world’s largest investment house, shows that those who have divested have not lost money and some have gained by a small margin. We should put our money where it will do no harm and make us money too.

  65. Charles E. Olmsted says:

    I have reviewed many of the comments in the recent “PERA on the Issues” article and also have strong personal opinions on the topic from several different perspectives.

    I spent the last forty years teaching and arguing about the negative impacts our use and dependence on fossil fuels have on the health and welfare of our environment, our global life support system. I have been firmly convinced of the realities of global climate change and its consequences since the 1990s when average planetary temperatures consistently rose above the stochastically predicted range of variation. The accelerating changes we have observed in many indicators (meteorological phenomena, extinction rates, pandemic occurrences and their drivers, sea level changes, polar region changes, and human “environmental” refugees convince me that most of these events will be exacerbated by continuous dependence on, and support of, fossil fuel use. If anything is getting more clear, it is the way in which most of these unpleasant “surprises” are happening faster and more frequently than past predictions suggested. I have not come to these conclusions as a “recently woke liberal socialist” but as a rational scientist convinced by data and observation.

    Second, we are all in this together and we cannot succumb to the polarized politicization and name-calling our society is sinking into. This is not an issue where “”Democratic”, “Republican”, or “Trumpian” allegiances should determine the course of action. I do not believe there is a “plot or cabal” aimed at the proponents of carbon fuel usage any more than Henry Ford and others conspired to put the buggy whip makers and sellers out of business. The pioneers of the auto industry were clearly motivated by their own chances for financial success and aggressive in pursuing those opportunities. Similar models have been followed over the last century with varying degrees of ethical behavior. I became aware of this in the context of the fossil fuel industry giants when I was asked to give a presentation to the senior management of Atlantic Richfield at their Denver headquarters in 1978. They listened thoughtfully and asked a variety of questions about my concerns but expressed no opinions of their own. Over several years, I watched as they accelerated their fossil fuel development plans. They had evidently decided to adopt the approach that the tobacco industry and more recently Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family employed (extract maximum profits while being mendacious about consequences and start a PR campaign that causes the public to question the validity of arguments and the credentials of your critics). Exxon (which took a controlling interest in ARCO shortly after my talk) was recently shown, through Congressional investigation, to have been aware of climate change concerns in the 1970s.

    This leads to the third component of concern, fiduciary responsibility and over what time frame should that responsibility be measured. PERA has a clear responsibility to preserve the assets of its members and to invest them wisely. As a culture we seem to be focused on short-term measures of financial success. I expect the buggy whip manufacturers thought the future looked great until Henry Ford got the bugs worked out of factory production techniques. Fossil fuels have also been good investments on a short-term basis until recently and may still look that way to people dependent on their extraction for their own livelihoods. Given the rapidly growing use of renewable energy sources and their declining costs compared to fossil fuel extraction costs even without climate change consequences and their global political implications, the handwriting is on the wall. Many of the fossil fuel majors will be hung out to dry because of “stranded assets”. The leases which represent a financial burden that cannot be recouped because they can’t be developed without causing serious environmental impacts, both physical and social/political. (In my opinion, the major owner of Atlantic Richfield was either ethical or decided to get out while the getting was good or some combination of the two.)

    Re fiduciary responsibility, several recent financial studies document the declining condition of the fossil fuel industry and the growing opportunities for renewable alternatives. There is also evidence indicating that divestiture is a more effective mechanism to promote change than trying to encourage change from within as a loyal investor. The citations below are from some of the comments to PERA on the Issues regarding this bill.

    (https://ieefa.org/major-investment-advisors-blackrock-and-meketa-provide-a-fiduciary-path-through-the-energy-transition/_ the world’s largest investment house, shows that those who have divested have profited not only morally but also financially

    Fossil fuels are draining our retirement! https://ieefa.org/major-investment-advisors-blackrock-and-meketa-provide-a-fiduciary-path-through-the-energy-transition/

  66. GM SANTO says:

    The overwhelming number of comments here are vehemently (and rightly) opposed to the proposed divestment legislation… However, if the state legislature can guarantee retirees a fair COLA, and start paying the million$ (if not billion$) of employer contributions, that they’re in arrears, to the fund… then I can support divesting from all businesses and only investing in unicorn farms on Mars!

    Fat chance the legislature stops raiding PERA and discontinues pushing these ill conceived divestiture bills (they’re just a way to make PERA members support their political agenda because they aren’t satisfied enough in stealing from us).

  67. Tom W says:

    If you are going to make decisions for us on our behalf, how about we make a decision for you on our behalf. This decision would be to remove PERA funds ** defund PERA ** . Look at the polls and get a clue. People are not willing to tolerate others telling them what to think and making decisions for them. Based on the weak COLA and impending inflation people are not going to be keen on keeping their funds with PERA and don’t have to.

  68. Sandra says:

    I would like to know if Colorado legislators will divest their personal investments in the same manner that they are requesting of PERA?

  69. Edward Paling says:

    This is what you get when you vote for one party rule and that party is out to destroy the economy and the country. You get the government that you vote for! Keep voting for the party that is now in power in this state and you will find that this is just the beginning.

  70. Robert Falasco says:

    I oppose divestment since when is it the right of the legislature to dictate
    how PERA regulates its investments. It is a utopian idea that we no longer need fossil fuels. We are a long way from not needing them. In time renewable energy resources will start to take over, but that time is a long way off, right now they are still unreliable. I am completely dependent on my PERA retirement. I worked for 32 years for them. I don’t think the renewable resourse industry is going to support me. LEAVE PERA ALONE

  71. Robert Falasco says:

    Something to, think about:
    “With a commitment of $72.35 billion since the beginning of the year, the United States has pledged the most money to fossil fuels among nations of the G20, according to a first-of-its-kind tracker released earlier this summer.”

    If fossil fuels are such a bad investment why is the U.S. investing so much money in them? “Black Rock” is just one of many websites, and many websites disagree with them. “Black Rock” reminds me of a Bad 1950’s movie called “BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK”

  72. Robert Falasco says:

    Jeff, well said, thank you

  73. Robert Falasco says:

    Some of the posts on this site note that some fossil fuel companies failed
    or lost money.
    Companies of many kinds fail and lose money it is part of the free enterprise system.
    check this out, here is a list of Green companies that failed.
    https://www.myheritage.org/news/19-green-energy-companies-have-failed-at-taxpayer-expense/

  74. Roberta Mooney says:

    I am a PERA member who hopes to retire in the 2050s. If we don’t transition rapidly away from fossil fuels now, the climate impacts to our food and water supplies, economic stability, and national security will be unmanageable by then. Divesting PERA from fossil fuels is one step in making that transition. Some say this is “political.” But if preserving my chance at a liveable future, my chance at the retirement PERA promises all of its members, if that is political, then I guess so be it. What this really is about is investing PERA in the better present and future all Coloradans deserve.

    • Bert says:

      Maintaining the prosperity of current and future PERA members will do more to ensure a livable future than forcing divestment of any one industry.

  75. John Paton says:

    And the worthless legislators of this state what with all that has happened and happening and needs their attention to what they were all elected to do and all they can think of is “political/democratic/correctness at the expense of Colorado state employee’s. PERA tell em to git lost!

  76. Steven John Freeman says:

    Leave the investing alone!
    Until the country can come up with a safe cheap alternative to fossil fuels this should be left alone.
    Also PERA’s investing should not hinge on a non proven issue of climate change, this shouldn’t drive investing.

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