Assembly Sends Coal Divestment Measure to the Governor

SB 185: First of its Kind in the Nation

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly today approved SB 185 (De León), which 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. The measure passed on a 43-27 vote. SB 185 now heads to the Governor’s desk.

“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,” Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León said. “California’s utilities are phasing out coal, and it’s time our pension funds did the same.”

“Coal is the fuel of the past and it’s no longer a wise investment for our pensioners,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), who presented the bill before the Assembly. “I’m pleased that my colleagues agree: it’s time to move on from this dirty energy source.”

Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org said, “What a signal of hope amid California's relentless drought and the planet's hottest summer. That California--earth's 8th biggest economy--will begin to pull its money out of fossil fuel stocks is a sign about what technologies are the future, and which are the dirty past.”

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.

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

Watch the floor debate here: http://www.calchannel.com/recent-archive