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California Pensions Move Closer to Divesting from Coal

California’s pension funds moved one step closer to divesting from coal on Wednesday, with an Assembly committee approving SB 185 bill by a 5-1 vote. The bill, which has passed the state Senate, moves to the floor for a vote. It is likely to pass, and Gov.Jerry Brown is likely to sign it into law, though he has opposed measures to ban fracking for oil in the state.

The bill concerns the state’s two main pension funds. Reuters reports that Calpers, the main public employee pension fund, has an estimated $100-$200 million in coal assets, while CalSTRS, the public teachers’ pension fund, has $40 million.

Activists are hailing SB 185 as a way to fight climate change and set an example for other states. Critics suggest that the pension funds stand to lose money if they divest from coal and other fossil fuels.

Last May, Gov. Brown suggested that the University of California system might also divest from coal, but the regents chose to maintain those investments.

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