Last night, December 6, supporters of fossil-free investments packed a public hearing promoting Montgomery County’s Bill 44-16, a measure to divest the County’s direct investments in coal, oil and gas over a number of years. Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Nancy Navarro have co-sponsored the bill. Together with Councilmember Marc Elrich, a longtime supporter, they spoke at a crowded pre-hearing rally. The crowd then moved upstairs to almost fill the Council Hearing Room.
At the hearing, Montgomery County 350 President Jeff Weisner led off the testimony, followed shortly thereafter by CCAN Director Mike Tidwell. Reflecting the broad interest of the community, a total of 28 of 35 speakers testified in favor of the bill, including labor leaders, Montgomery County retirees, teachers, students and climate scientists. The essential point across each of the speakers for the bill was that County investments should not be aligned with a fossil fuel industry that is driving the planet towards a disastrously altered climate.
Prior to the hearing, Montgomery County 350 delivered approximately 2500 pro-divestment postcards and petitions to the Council. These postcards were gathered at storefronts, farmers markets and college campuses in a genuine grassroots effort. The bill will be considered by the Council in the new year. County residents who wish to voice their opinions on the bill can contact their members at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/contact.html.
For more pictures from the hearing, visit CCAN’s Flickr album here.
David Goodrich, Incoming President
CCAN Board of Directors