Governor Brown Signs Anti-Coal Bill

Friday, August 26, 2016

(SACRAMENTO) – Governor Jerry Brown today signed a bill by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) to halt future state funding for any new project that would allow coal to be transported or exported through California. Coauthor Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) who presented the bill to the Assembly this week, made the following statement after the bill was signed:

“SB 1279 ensures that our tax dollars are not used to support the transport and export of a fossil fuel that will eventually contribute to asthma, cancer, and lung disease. The bill continues the important work our Legislature began last year with Senate President pro Tem de Leon’s SB 185, a bill that required CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest our pension investments from coal.”

Senator Hancock introduced SB 1279 in February after she learned that a proposed development project on city-owned land in Oakland had the potential to export up to 10 million tons of coal annually to China and other Asian countries. At present, California exports less than 3 million tons annually. SB 1279 closes loopholes in the law to ensure that other cities will not face similar problems in the future. 

SB 1279 will bar the California Transportation Commission from allocating state funds for new coal-related projects. The bill applies to future projects and does not affect existing projects to improve safety, rehabilitation, congestion reduction, modernization or maintenance.

Hancock explained, “When I introduced this measure, many people thought a coal-export terminal in West Oakland was a done deal.  Today, people can breathe easier knowing that beginning in January no coal-related projects will receive state funding.”