Krueger-Braneky: Pennsylvania must divest from Energy Transfer Partners and condemn violence in North Dakota

SWARTHMORE, Sept. 7 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, issued the following statement in light of news that hundreds of millions of tax dollars from Pennsylvania, invested through the Pennsylvania Public School Retirement System (PSERS), are benefiting Energy Transfer Partners (ETP):  

"The scene we have seen out of North Dakota is deeply disturbing. Videos are emerging of peaceful protesters being pepper sprayed and attacked by vicious dogs handled by a private security force associated with Energy Transfer Partners. It is unacceptable that members of North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who are simply trying to preserve sacred burial grounds and protect the environment they depend on to live, are being treated this way.

"What is even more disturbing is that Pennsylvania, specifically the Public School Retirement System, owns over 5 million shares of stock in ETP equaling nearly $200 million. My tax dollars, as well as tax dollars of my constituents and Pennsylvanians across the state, are helping finance this highly environmentally questionable project and pay the salaries of a private security force that partakes in 1960s-era intimidation tactics. 

"It’s an embarrassment to our taxpayers that Pennsylvania has any type of association with such disgusting displays of bullying, but thankfully we have recourse. I am asking the board at PSERS to immediately divest all of the state’s shares in ETP as a show of solidarity with those who are simply exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest and assembly. Our state, which holds such a distinctive place in the founding of our nation, cannot lower itself to enabling the type of jackboot thuggery we’re seeing in North Dakota.

"I realize that PSERS holds investments across many business sectors, but I would suggest once the divesture of all ETP shares is complete, the board look no further than the clean energy sector to reinvest Pennsylvania’s money. Rather than enable authoritarian rule halfway across the country, Pennsylvania could be wisely investing tax dollars in a market that will both benefit our planet as well as our taxpayers." 

NOTE: A copy of the letter can be found here.