The California Assembly has passed SB 185, the coal divestment bill, by a vote of 43–27! (Update: When the late votes came in, it was even better, at 47–30.)
One more step remains before the bill is enacted: Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. Let him know that when he signs this bill into law, California will become the first state to legislate fossil fuel divestment, a model for other states and nations worldwide.
From the office of Senator Kevin de León, author of the bill:
“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.”
UPDATE: More great quotes, courtesy of 350.org:
“I wrote the first-in-the-nation resolution calling for fossil fuel divestment, which passed my Ventura County Democratic Party back in 2013, and was ultimately passed by the California Democratic Party this spring,” said RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote and Chair of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus. “Though S.B. 185 is narrower, as it only calls for coal divestment, the work within the state’s Democratic Party has enlightened a lot of activists to the need for full fossil fuel divestment, and S.B. 185 is the right bill at the right time. Once passed, I expect the bill to unleash a flood of actions in other states with similar bills.”
“Addressing the climate crisis is a moral imperative,” said Jim Miller, member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931 VP/Chair SD-Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus. “Although much more still needs to be done, S.B. 185 and the Climate Leadership Package are an important step in the right direction if we are serious about saving our children’s future.”
Here is Assembly Member Rob Bonta’s strong speech today on behalf of the bill:
Further details to follow, on SB 185 and the other climate bills.