Cuomo Divest in Budget

Divest NY

February 5, 2018

Dear Governor Cuomo

We write to thank you for your call for New York State to divest its pension funds from fossil fuels – and to urge you to include divestment in your 30-day budget amendments.

We agree with you that “moving the Common Fund away from fossil fuel investments will protect the retirement savings of New Yorkers…. With billions of public employee dollars invested in the fossil fuel industry, and nearly $1 billion invested in ExxonMobil alone, the Common Fund holds increasingly risky financial investments for New Yorkers, particularly as both New York State and the world back away from the use of fossil fuel as a primary energy source. For example, just last week the World Bank announced that it will end financial support for oil and gas exploration within the next two years, an announcement that itself comes on the heels of recent action by the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the largest fund in the world, to move away from fossil fuel investments.”

Your call for the state to divest helped persuade NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer to change his position on divestment and to join in the historic announcement with other city elected officials and union representatives on the pension board to support divesting the city pension fund from fossil fuels. NYC’s announcement attracted international interest and hopefully will be a turning point in the world’s efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change.

“The dam has broken,” said co-founder Bill McKibben. “After years of great activism, New York has taken a massive step towards divesting from fossil fuels. Coming from the capital of world finance, this will resonate loud and clear all over the planet. It’s a crucial sign of how fast the financial pendulum is swinging away from fossil fuels.”

Unfortunately, the State Comptroller has made it quite clear after your announcement that he has yet to embrace divestment

It would be wonderful if New York became the first state to divest from fossil fuels.

We hope you will include language requiring the state to fully divest fossil fuels from its pension funds in your thirty-day budget amendments. We suggest that you incorporate the language of the existing divestment bill (A3712 / S4596), which already has more than three dozen legislative co-sponsors.

Your inclusion of this in the state budget is the most likely path to divestment in the near future and will give us further hope that we can act fast enough to avoid climate catastrophe.


Molly Ornati
350Brooklyn, Brooklyn

Jordan Dale
350NJ-Rockland, Nanuet

Lyna Hinkel

Andra Leimanis
Alliance for a Green Economy, Syracuse

Justin Green
Big Reuse, Brooklyn

Jennifer Scarlott
Bronx Climate Justice North, Bronx

Charlotte Phillips
Brooklyn for Peace, Brooklyn

Brian Eden
Campaign for Renewable Energy, Ithaca

Marie Venner
Catholic Network.US, Denver

Mary Smith
Church Women United in New York State, Rochester

Bob Cohen
Citizen Action of New York, Albany

Barbara Warren
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Cuddebackville

Victoria Furio
Climate Justice,  Yonkers

Lisa Moir
Croton Climate Initiative, Croton

Anthony Gronowicz
CUNY DIvest from fossil fuels, New York

Clara vondrich
Divest-Invest Philanthropy, Brooklyn

Marie McRae
Dryden Resource Awareness Coaliton, Dryden

Magenna Brink
DSA- NYC Climate Justice Working Group, NYC

Margaret McCasland
Earthcare Working Group, New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Ithaca

Doug Couchon,
Elmirans and Friends Against Fracking, Elmira

Charley Bowman
Environmental Justice Task Force of the WNY Peace Center, Buffalo

Roger A. Cook
Environmental Task Force of the Western Area United Churches of Christ and Disciples of Christ, Grand Island

Michelle de la Uz
Fifth Avenue Committee, Brooklyn

Alex Beauchamp
Food & Water Watch, Brooklyn

Sara Hess
Fossil Free Tompkins, Ithaca

Alicia D Alexander
GoGreenNY, Ithaca

Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition, New York

Mark Dunlea
Green Education and Legal Fund, Poestenill

Gloria Mattera
Green Party of New York, New York

Fletcher Harper
GreenFaith, New York

Bill Garrett
Harlem  Climate Caucus, NYC

Bob DiBenedetto
HealthyPlanet, Huntington

Terence Muhammad
Hip Hop Caucus       Washington, DC

Manna Jo Greene
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., Beacon

June Licence
Interfaith Peace Network of WNY, Buffalo, New York

Michelle Long
Mothers Out Front, Rochester

Peter Looker
NE3, Glenville

Jonathan Westin
New York Communities for Change (NYCC), Brooklyn

Bob Rossi
New York Sustainable Business Council (NYSBC), Ithaca

Jerry Rivers
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE). Roosevelt

Ginger Storey-Welch
North Country 350 Alliance, Colton

Elizabeth Henderson
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), Newark

Alice Slater
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY

Edie Kantrowitz
NYC Friends of Clearwater, New York

Diana Wright
PAUSE – People of Albany United for Safe Energy, Albany

Rosemarie Pace
Pax Christi Metro New York, New York

Sally Jones
Peace Action New York State, New York

Wayne Stinson
Peacemakers of Schoharie County, Summit, NY

Elizabeth Whitehouse
People for a Healthy Environment, Corning

Leslie Cagan
Peoples Climate Movement NY, New York City

Gerri Wiley
Residents Allied for the Futhre of Tioga (RAFT), Owego

Judith K Canepa
ResistSpectra, New York

Revs. Catherine & Jon Rieley-Goddard
Riverside-Salem UCC/DC, Grand Island

Theresa C McGowan
Rochester Pachamama Alliance. Rochester

Susan Hughes-Smith
Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Rochester

Kim Fraczek
Sane Energy Project, New York

Wayne Stinson
Schoharie Citizens for Progressive Governance, Summit

Sara Schultz
Sierra Club Niagara, Buffalo

Tony Del Plato
Solar Seneca, Interlaken

Mazeda A. Uddin
South Asian Fund For Education,Scholarship and Training (SAFEST), Jamaica

Becky Meier
Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline, Canaan

Susan Van Dolsen
Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, Harrison

Conner Wolfe
Student Assembly of The State University of New York, Albany

Gay Nicholson
Sustainable Tompkins, Ithaca

Mary Makofske
Sustainable Warwick, Warwick

Herb Hennings
Troy Area Labor Council, Troy

Beth Kelley
United for Action, NYC

Sarah Woodside Gallagher
Upper Green Side, New York

Jack W. Kanack
Weather Medic Inc., North Tonawanda

Nada Khader
WESPAC Foundation, White Plains

Charley Bowman
WNY Drilling Defense
WNY Peace Center, Inc., Buffalo