Lawsuit Filed to Divest New Jersey Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels

November 1, 2022

CHERRY HILL-Attorney William Riback filed a lawsuit (Docket No: HUD-L-003623-22) against the State of New Jersey to prohibit the State’s Pension Fund, worth $90 billion, from investing in the 200 largest oil and gas companies.

The State of New Jersey in its lawsuit against the major oil companies like Exxon admits that these companies are causing catastrophic damage including the palpable destruction of Superstorms Sandy and Ida.

The lawsuit alleges that the State is a perpetrator because it has a substantial investment in the very oil and gas assets through its Pension Fund’s investments into the 200 largest oil and gas companies.

“Divestiture is one small step in holding these 200 largest publicly traded oil companies responsible for the clear and present existential threat they have intentionally created. And the State of New Jersey cannot have it both ways, but must take every step to fulfill its mandate to protect the Public from the harms which will only get worse from here”. The State admits in its lawsuit against the oil majors that more insidious pervasive harms will ensue if its business as usual: “sea-level rise and attendant flooding, erosion, damage to riparian lands and submerged lands, and loss of wetlands and beaches; increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including coastal and inland storms and associated flooding, drought, extreme heat, extreme precipitation events, wildfires, habitat loss, species impacts, and others; ocean warming and acidification; and the cascading social, economic, health, and other consequences of these environmental changes”.

The suit also asks the Court to have a jury to decide if investments in oil and gas are safe assets for the Pension Fund of 800,000 public employees to hold. These 200 largest publicly traded companies owe $1.4 trillion dollars which sits on these companies books as assets. But if $1.4 trillion dollar investment is to be reaped through extraction and consumption, they will act as mega-bombs destroying everything in their path. The only reasonable solution is that these assets must be abandoned which if not properly addressed now, will cause major financial distress for these companies first and foremost. “These oil and gas reserve assets must be stranded and written off,” Riback said.

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