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Letter: Get State Assets Out of TD Bank

To the Editor:

The Valley News reported Jan. 19 that state funds are currently deposited in two privately owned banks (“Study: Vt. Should Allow VEDA to Be State Bank”). Note that in fiscal year 2013, two-thirds of the state’s nonrestricted cash assets, a daily average of over $236 million, were held by TD Bank, the American subsidiary of Canadian giant Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Together, Toronto-Dominion and TD Asset Management own enough shares in TransCanada to make TD the second largest investor in the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline, if it were permitted by the U.S. government, would enable greater development of the Alberta tar sands. If those tar sands deposits are fully exploited, climate scientists tell us, the emissions “budget” required to keep to a target of no more than a 2 degree Celsius increase over pre-industrial average temperatures, would be broken.

Two degrees is the generally accepted threshold above which climate change would be catastrophic. As former NASA chief climate scientist James Hansen has put it, “If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.”

Vermont’s energy policy explicitly addresses the need to reduce emissions that are driving climate change. As a state, Vermont can put its money where its mouth is. Get it out of TD Bank and other investments in fossil fuel development. Put it in a state bank.

Stuart Blood

Thetford Center