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Politics and Government

Colorado governor signs bill providing $15M to help coal-dependent workers, towns transition to clean energy

The law funding the state Office of Just Transition seeks to help those who lose their jobs as utilities increase their use of renewable energy

The Craig Station coal-burning power plant in Moffat County is pictured Feb. 27, 2020. Tri-State Generation plans to close the plant by 2030. (Matt Stensland, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law a measure that provides $15 million in seed money to help workers and municipalities dependent on coal mines and plants transition to a clean energy economy.

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The law funding the state Office of Just Transition seeks to help those who lose their jobs as utilities increase their use of renewable energy, aided by falling prices for solar and wind-generated power. Polis, who signed the bill Wednesday, called it “an important down payment on helping people get the jobs of the future, which is why we included it in our state stimulus package.”

“The key to a truly just transition unlocks new opportunities in more places than ever before — not only to provide jobs, but to support schools, and improve systems that are critical to powering our communities,” The Denver Post quoted Polis as saying.

Legislation in 2019 that created the transition office within the state labor department called for grants to communities reliant on coal, as well as education and training for workers. But few resources were allocated to the program.

Another 2019 law and a state greenhouse gas reduction roadmap set goals of reducing emissions from 2005 levels by at least 50% by 2030

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