Council committee passes fossil fuel divestment resolution

A City Council committee has unanimously approved a resolution that would make it city policy to divest from fossil fuel companies and encourage other individuals and organizations to do the same.

If approved by the full Council on March 20, the resolution would apply to fossil fuel extraction and refinery companies, not utilities such as Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. The city has a new Clean Energy Partnership with the utilities to advance the city’s environmental goals.

The resolution also calls on companies to make fossil-free investment options available to customers.

City Council Member Cam Gordon (Ward 2) said he brought the motion forward on the urging of residents and said it reinforces city goals to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

The City of Minneapolis doesn’t currently have any investments in fossil fuel companies, according to city officials.

Gordon said he hopes the city’s resolution inspires others to divest their holdings in fossil fuels as well.

Dwight Wagenius, a board member of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, applauded City Council members for bringing the resolution forward. “It’s a moral tool,” he said of divestment. “It’s wrong to profit from the destruction of the earth.”

Members of Fossil Free Minnesota — a group of University of Minnesota students and alumni campaigning for fossil fuel divestment — also commended the Council for the resolution.

The divestment movement has been picking up steam with campaigns at campuses, places of worship and local governments all over the world.