LA Times Editorial Board: Pipeline Divestment Bill “Flawed and Dangerous”

In a new editorial, the Los Angeles Times sharply criticized proposed legislation that would divest California’s two largest public pension funds from companies connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Times made clear that such action would have no effect on the pipeline itself, but could amount to billions in losses for Californians.

“The bill, if it were to become law (and it shouldn’t), wouldn’t stop the project from being completed. The Army Corps of Engineers has already given final approval to the remaining section of the pipeline. It would, however, blow a multibillion-dollar hole in the pension funds — and the public pocketbook, because state and local taxpayers would be left to fill that hole.”

The editorial board went on to characterize the proposed legislation as “flawed” and “dangerous,” noting that CalPERS staff recently estimated that divesting from the pipeline would cost the state at least $4 billion.

“The bill did get attention: CalPERS staff recommended that the CalPERS board oppose the bill because of the financial damage it might do to the fund. It also contradicts the fund’s preferred method of affecting social change — which is to lobby the management of the companies in which it invests.”

It’s striking that even the Los Angeles Times, which has openly opposed the pipeline in the past, did not waiver in its rejection of activist attempts to leverage California’s retirement funds to further their own agenda.