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About the Office of Just Transition

Background

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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.

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The Need

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).

The Legislation

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.

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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.

The Just Transition Team

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Photo of Wade BuchananWade Buchanan
Director
wade.buchanan@state.co.us

Wade Buchanan is director of the Colorado Office of Just Transition, the first state-level office in the nation dedicated to helping coal communities and workers transition to prosperous futures after the closure of the coal facilities upon which they depend. 

 

Wade has had an extensive career in state public policy, serving three Colorado governors in a variety of senior positions, including policy director, speech writer, director of the state energy office, chair of the lead air quality planning agency for the Denver Metropolitan area, and acting Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. For 15 years he was president of the Bell Policy Center, a non-profit organization he led from start-up to become one of Colorado’s premier public policy think tanks. 

 

Wade is a fourth generation Coloradan with a BA in History from Colorado College in Colorado Springs and an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford University in England, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.


Terri LivermorePhoto of Terri Livermore
Policy and Engagement Manager
terri.livermore@state.co.us

 

Terri is the Policy and Engagement Manager at the CO Office of Just Transition where she works with local, state, and federal partners on public policy and regulatory issues, and office communications. Previously, Terri was the executive and policy directors of Nourish Colorado, a  food system change organization, and also spent over two decades lobbying the state legislature. Terri was born and raised in Gunnison Colorado and received her BA from Colorado College. When not working, she can be found cycling with her husband Michael, reading, or playing with their two dogs, Loki and Teller. 


Cassie Mason headshotCassie Mason
Program Assistant
cassie.mason@state.co.us

Cassie Mason is an experienced public administrator with over 15-years of public sector service. Prior to joining the OJT team, Cassie most recently served as Deputy City Clerk for the City of Gunnison and as Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies at Western Colorado University. Cassie holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a BA in International Studies from Colby College in Maine. Cassie grew up in a small town in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains in California. She moved to the Gunnison Valley in 2011, and enjoys exploring the mountains by bike, foot and skis with her family and friends.


Jennifer Peroni HeadshotJennifer Pieroni
Yampa Valley Transition Navigator
jennifer.pieroni@state.co.us

Jennifer Pieroni is a 4th generation Colorado Native. Her family homesteaded part of Eagle County, where she was lucky enough to live for 7 years. She and her family relocated to Craig in 2021, seeking quiet and community. Jennifer applied for and accepted this position with the Office of Just Transition to help her neighbors and community prepare for and to navigate this transition.

Jennifer’s background is in healthcare and as a social worker for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is a strong advocate and focused on bringing all resources to the table to
help everyone she supports.  

Jennifer has two kids with disabilities and is passionate about ensuring everyone has access to resources that are available to them. She and her family enjoy everything that the Yampah Valley has to offer. They are active with 4-H, skiing and snowboarding, and love to explore every inch of the region.


Shelley Siman HeadshotShelley Siman
Workforce Manager
shelley.siman@state.co.us

Shelley Siman has worked in state and local government for the past eighteen years, serving in the following capacities: research and evaluation, direct client services, project management, leadership consulting, program implementation, advancing equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, training, and coaching. She has helped launch several public safety initiatives including rapid rehousing for people exiting prison, case management strategies in prison facilities, problem-solving courts, jail-based mental health programs and jail to community reentry models. Shelley has a BA in Art and Psychology and completed her MA in International Human Rights and a Certificate in Global Health Affairs from the University of Denver.