Colorado wants to help after coal leaves town. It’s going to take time. And a lot of money. |

Colorado wants to help after coal leaves town. It’s going to take time. And a lot of money.

The Just Transition Action Plan has options for the state to help when coal mines and power plants close. Officials want federal support, too.

A state plan to support the economies of 11 Colorado counties where coal mines and power plants are closing anticipates a price tag of at least $100 million to help workers and their communities.

The state wants to help coal communities however it can, but the people who spent more than a year developing the strategy say lessening the impacts of the move to a cleaner energy economy would be more effective and equitable with support from the federal government.

The Office of Just Transition, created two years ago, submitted its framework to the state last week outlining the beginnings of what will likely be more than a decade’s worth of work to help coal-dependent communities avoid a devastating economic bust. The plan explicitly advocates for a national strategy, citing the interstate and even international nature of the coal industry. But it also provides 12 other ways the state is going to support the switch away from coal.

The Just Transition Action Plan’s items are based on a draft compiled by a 19-member advisory committee that has industry and community stakeholders, as well as legislators. Some of the proposed actions include:

Bringing grant-funded programs to coal communities

Helping coal industry workers and their families plan for potential job changes

Creating plans for programs to help workers retrain and find new jobs

Collaborating with utilities and mining companies to help cover the expense of transition

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun, click here.

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