Colorado 22-1193 Fund JT Coal Workforce Programs
The bill directs the state treasurer to transfer $2 million from the coal transition workforce assistance program account (account) to the just transition cash fund (fund) on the effective date of the bill and directs the general assembly to appropriate $150,000 from the fund to the department of higher education for allocation to the Colorado School of Mines to expand the Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Minerals Initiative for U.S. Basins (CORE-CM initiative) in the Greater Green river and Wind river basins.
Additionally, the bill modifies the account as follows:
- Removes the requirement that the department of labor and employment (department) expend specified percentages of money in the account by specified fiscal years; and
- Removes the prioritization of account expenditures first for programs that directly support coal transition workers, thereby allowing the department to also expend money in the account for programs that support coal transition workers’ family members and other household members.
The bill also:
- Repeals the $7,000,000 appropriation from the account to the department, made pursuant to House Bill 21-1290, for the 2020-21 state fiscal year;
- Appropriates from the account to the department, for the coal transition workforce assistance program, $500,000 for the 2021-22 state fiscal year and $2 million for the 2022-23 state fiscal year;
- Appropriates from the fund to the department, for authorized investments in just transition programs for communities, $1,295,000 for the 2021-22 state fiscal year and $555,000 for the 2022-23 state fiscal year; and
- Appropriates $150,000 to the department of higher education for allocation to the Colorado school of mines to expand the CORE-CM initiative.
While this bill is limited in scope, it is part of a pattern of legislation in Colorado to decouple rural employment opportunities from extractive industries. If Colorado continues to support a just transition for fossil fuel workers, the political power of fossil-based industries in state politics will decrease, creating opportunities for more expansive decarbonization and climate legislation.
Summary courtesy of: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1193
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