Just Transition’ bill would ensure state studies and prepares for future

(Apr. 22) – The House gave preliminary approval to Speaker KC Becker and Rep. Rochelle Galindo’s bill to create the Just Transition Office within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to support the livelihood of coal transition workers, their families and their communities, and to help provide these workers access to training and job opportunities.

“The time to take action on climate is now, but we cannot work towards a clean energy economy without also working on solutions to support workers who are affected by this transition,” said Speaker Becker, D-Boulder. “Workers and communities whose livelihoods are threatened by shifting economic tides and advancements in technology need support. We can support these communities in this transition and that’s the intention of this bill.”

Due to market forces, Colorado’s power sector is transitioning toward renewable energy resources and natural gas. This bill would help ensure communities and workers who are going to be impacted by this market driven transition away from coal won’t be left behind. The bill creates the Just Transition Office to provide critical benefits to workers who are laid off to help them get back up on their feet and award workforce and economic development grants to communities whose residents and local economies are disproportionately impacted by the decline of coal.

“Weld County is a working class community and I come from a working class family. I’m a blue collar worker, so I understand the challenges of working people and the struggles they go through every single day to keep a roof over their head,” said Rep. Galindo, D-Greeley. “With this bill, we are looking out for workers whose livelihoods will be impacted by inevitable market shifts. We need to be responsive, cognizant and proactive – not reactive – for workers when addressing this market driven transition.”

The bill was approved by a voice-vote. A recorded vote will take place at a later date.

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