Colorado Just Transition Fund, 21-1290

Policy Type Policy
Policy Jurisdiction State — Colorado
Status Passed
Tags Climate Adaptation and Resilience, Climate Finance, Labor/Workforce

Policy Summary

The Act makes general fund transfers of $8,000,000 to the just transition cash fund (fund) and $7,000,000 to a newly created coal transition worker assistance program account (account) in the fund. The just transition office (office) is required to expend at least 70% of the money transferred to the fund by the close of state fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 and any remaining money in state FY 2022-23 to implement the final just transition plan for Colorado and to provide supplemental funding for existing state programs that the office identifies as the most effective vehicles for targeted investment in coal transition communities. In expending the money, the office is required to develop specific criteria for prioritizing the expenditures, emphasize investment in tier one transition communities, as defined by the act, and support specified types of programs in accordance with specified requirements and limitations.

Subject to specified requirements and limitations, the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) is required to expend at least 70% of the money transferred to the account by the close of state FY 2021-22 and any remaining money in state FY 2022-23 first for assistance programs that directly assist coal transition workers and then, if money remains, to support family and other household members of coal transition workers and create and implement a pilot program to test innovative coal transition work support programs.

The act also:

  1. Amends and supplements existing definitions of “coal transition community” and “coal transition worker” to improve the implementation of just transition.
  2. For state FY 2020-21, appropriates $8,000,000 from the fund to CDLE for use by the office to implement the final just transition plan for Colorado and to provide supplemental funding for existing state programs that the office identifies as the most effective vehicles for targeted investment in coal transition communities as specified in the act. Any portion of the appropriation not spent by the close of state FY 2020-21 remains available for expenditure by the office for the same purposes until the close of state FY 2022-23.
  3. For state FY 2020-21, appropriates $7,000,000 from the account to CDLE for use by CDLE first for assistance programs that directly assist coal transition workers and then, if money remains, to support family and other household members of coal transition workers and create and implement a pilot program to test innovative coal transition work support programs as specified in the act. Any portion of the appropriation not spent by the close of state FY 2020-21 remains available for expenditure by CDLE for the same purposes until the close of state FY 2022-23.

The act takes important first steps towards advancing a just transition. Taken in combination with other just transition bills funded through the Colorado state legislature since 2021, these bills serve to unlink employment opportunities is rural areas of Colorado from the fossil fuel industry. In time, this also reduces the power of fossil fuel corporations in Colorado state politics, reducing barriers to future decarbonization and climate action legislation.

Summary courtesy of: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb21-1290

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