Lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly are poised to pass another round of funding for the state’s efforts to ensure a “just transition” for coal workers impacted by the shift to clean energy — and are again winning bipartisan support for the workforce and community grant programs that Republicans once decried as “Orwellian,” “egregious” and “offensive.”
House Bill 22-1394, which passed the House of Representatives this week, would allocate an additional $15 million in funding to the Office of Just Transition, an agency within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Two-thirds of that amount would go directly to the Coal Transition Worker Assistance Program, providing coal workers and their families with funds that could cover apprenticeship and retraining programs, child care services, housing assistance and other expenses. The remaining $5 million would go towards economic development programs for coal-dependent communities.
It’s the second $15 million appropriation made by the Legislature to the Office of Just Transition in as many years, following the passage of House Bill 21-1290 last session — and advocates for the state’s clean-energy push promise there will be plenty more support to come.