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Thursday, October 8, 2015

California pension funds to drop coal-mining companies

Kevin de León

by Chris Megerian, The Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed legislation forcing California’s pension systems, the two largest public funds in the country, to divest from coal companies.

The measure, SB 185 by state Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), requires the funds to sell their holdings in companies that derive at least half of their revenue from mining coal used to generate electricity.
The deadline for divestment is July 1, 2017, and new investments will be prohibited.
The new law will affect $58 million held by the California Public Employees' Retirement System and $6.7 million in the California State Teachers Retirement System, a tiny fraction of their overall investments. The funds are responsible for providing benefits to more than 2.5 million current and retired employees.

De León pitched the measure as a way to emphasize more secure, environmentally friendly investments.
“Coal is a losing bet for California retirees and it’s also incredibly harmful to our health and the health of our environment," he said in a statement.
The University of California has already taken similar steps. Last month, it sold off its $200 million in investments in coal and oil sands companies.

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