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D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson wants the D.C. government out of the fossil fuels business.
On Tuesday, along with David Grosso and mayoral candidates Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser, and Tommy Wells, Mendelson introduced a bill that would make the city’s insurance and retirement funds sell their investments in the 200 companies that have the world’s largest oil, gas, or coal reserves.
“This legislation would provide an important policy statement that the District of Columbia takes seriously the critical issue of climate change and will not invest city resources in companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves,” Mendelson says.
While Mendelson waits for his bill to pass, though, the chairman doesn’t seem interested in doing some divesting of his own. As NBC 4 columnist Chuck Thies points out on Twitter, Mendelson has personal investments in fossil fuels. When Mendelson filed his 2012 financial disclosure form, he had $40,700 worth of shares in Chevron and a whopping $154,400.00 in ExxonMobil stock. That means Mendelson is investing in the companies with the sixth- and third-largest fossil fuel reserves, respectively.
Since both companies give out dividends, Mendelson is actively profiting from fossil fuels even if he doesn’t sell his shares. If Mendelson is going to restrict city employees’ retirement funds because he thinks fossil fuels are bad, shouldn’t he do the same for himself?
Denise Tolliver, Mendelson’s chief of staff, tells LL that Mendelson still has the Chevron and ExxonMobil investments, which he inherited. Tolliver wouldn’t comment on whether Mendelson is going to sell his approximately $200,000 in shares to square with his bill.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery