Public comment on Just Transition money closes Friday
The Office of Just Transition is accepting public comment until Friday on how to spend $8 million allocated to Task One, which is community funding for people who are going to be affected by closures of coal mines and power plants.
The Colorado Office of Just Transition (OJT) has two main tasks. Task One is to help communities replace what they lose when their coal mines and power plants close. Specifically, this includes more family-sustaining jobs, increased commercial property value and a broader property tax base, and measurably more economic diversity. Task Two aims to help coal workers prepare for closure, find good new jobs or enter secure retirements without sacrificing family economic well-being in the process.
In June, the Colorado state house passed House Bill 21-1290, which allocated $15 million in one-time state stimulus funds to begin this work, moving the money from the general fund to the Just Transition fund. $8 million will be used for task one and $7 million will be used for task two. The Office of Just Transition must expend at least 70% of each amount by June 30, 2022, with the remainder spent by June 30, 2023.
Many Yampa Valley counties, like Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco — including the municipalities of Craig, Meeker, Hayden, Oak Creek and Rangely — are considered “Tier One” coal communities. In House Bill 21-1290, tier one communities are defined as a community that has “already experienced or is at risk of experiencing significant economic disruption, the proximate cause of which is either the closure or conversion of a coal-fueled electrical power-generating plant in Colorado or a contiguous state or a sustained likely permanent decline in broader coal markets due to similar closures or conversions nationally and globally.”
Programs that are eligible for this funding must directly benefit a community that will be affected by closures of the power plants and mines.
To submit public comment, interested citizens can fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSelhJyG0949QXzsF3TnSBkGLRFE8kdY44WfRnEeJm9LNhcOHQ/viewform.
They can also read a brief explanation of Just Transition to prepare their public comments at https://cdle.colorado.gov/sites/cdle/files/documents/OJT_Guidance_for_Public_Comment_final.pdf.
Comments are due by this Friday, Oct. 22.
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