Colorado created the Office of Just Transition in 2019 to assist workers and communities that will be adversely affected by the loss of jobs and revenues due to the closure of coal mines and coal-fired power plants. Its purpose is to help workers transition to new, high-quality, jobs, to help communities continue to thrive by expanding and attracting diverse businesses, and to replace lost revenues.
As market forces, along with health and environmental imperatives, move our nation away from the use of coal, approximately 2,000 Colorado workers stand to lose well-paying jobs. And the communities where they work and live stand to lose significant percentages of their job base and property tax revenues.
Eight coal-fired electrical power generating plants and six coal mines remained in Colorado in 2019. All 14 facilities were concentrated in ten counties–El Paso, Gunnison, La Plata, Larimer, Moffat, Montrose, Morgan, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, and Routt. Workers lived in these or neighboring counties (including Delta County).
In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed and Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1314, which made a “moral commitment” to a “just transition” for these workers and communities. In addition to the Office of Just Transition, the bill created the Just Transition Advisory Committee to help develop a plan for how the state will fulfill this commitment.
The Office of Just Transition is responsible for:
- Administering the Just Transitions program for Colorado.
- "Identify or estimate...the timing and location of facility closures and job layoffs in coal-related industries" and make recommendations for how to "most effectively respond to these economic dislocations."
- Appointing members of the Just Transition Advisory Committee (JATC), and support the work of that committee.
- Submitting to the Governor and General Assembly the final Just Transition Plan by December 31, 2020, based on the draft plan developed by the JATC and with the approval of the executive directors of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
- Engaging in administrative proceedings that are relevant to the purposes of the office, including matters before the Public Utilities Commission and the Air Quality Control Commission.
- Participating in CDLE's annual SMART Government Act hearings.
- Recommending to the General Assembly and Governor legislative changes that would allow the office to better achieve the purposes of HB 19-1314.
To read the legislation in its entirety, please visit this page.