Coal Divestment Bill Sent to the Governor

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) presented a first-of-its kind climate divestiture bill to the Assembly for a floor vote during the last weeks of the legislative session. The bill, SB 185, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, requires California’s public pension funds---the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)---to divest from holdings in thermal coal.

“California is leading the fight against climate,” explained Bonta. “As legislators, we have a responsibility to our districts and to our constituents to take necessary steps to aggressively address climate change in this state and in this world. SB 185 aligns our investments with those values.”

If signed into law, SB 185 would be the first measure of its kind nationwide. CalPERS and CalSTRS are the largest public pension funds in the nation, with $292 billion and $191 billion in assets, respectively, as of August 2015.

Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León discussed why California needs to step away from coal investment. “Coal is losing value quickly and investing in coal is a losing proposition for our retirees; it’s a nuisance to public health; and it’s inconsistent with our values as a state on the forefront of efforts to address global climate change,” said. “California’s utilities are phasing out coal, and it’s time our pension funds did the same.”

Bonta concluded, “Coal is the fuel of the past and it’s no longer a wise investment for our pensioners. I’m pleased that my colleagues agree: it’s time to move away from this dirty energy source.”

Watch Assemblymember Bonta’s floor presentation here:

For more information about SB 185 visit: http://focus.senate.ca.gov/sites/focus.senate.ca.gov/files/climate/coal.html