Surprise! New York State’s Pension Fund Invests $1 Billion in Shale Gas Drilling Companies

In an interesting (some would say hypocritical) twist on New York State’s moratorium against drilling in the Marcellus Shale because of environmental concerns, it seems the state’s comptroller has no problem investing some of the state’s huge $140 billion pension fund in shale gas drilling operations, to the tune of $1 billion:

The State Comptroller’s Office has invested hundreds of millions of dollars from the state pension fund in natural gas and hydraulic fracturing companies in recent years, a review of the fund’s most recent listings shows.

In all, the $140 billion fund had more than $1 billion invested in more than a dozen energy companies as of March 31, 2010, a review by Gannett’s Albany Bureau shows. That includes $72 million in natural-gas giant Chesapeake Energy Corporation and $145 million in Schlumberger Ltd, a company specializing in hydrofracking and oilfield services.*

Some of the other drilling companies the comptroller has invested in include Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwestern Energy, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil.

In an even bigger display of hypocrisy from politicians that put party over so-called principle:

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, has been one of the fiercest critics of hydrofracking in the Legislature, but said she trusts the work of the Comptroller’s Office.

"I assume they look at these decisions strictly as investments and keep the politics out of it," Lifton said.*

Looks like if it makes money, Assemblywoman Lifton doesn’t mind a little hydraulic fracturing.

*Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (May 6, 2011) – State pension fund invests over $1 billion in gas companies