| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Feb 3 The California State
Teachers' Retirement System's (Calstrs) board on Wednesday voted
to liquidate its holding in four U.S. thermal coal companies
after the state passed a law last year urging them to do so.
Coal companies make up only about $40 million of the fund's
$186 billion portfolio, but lawmakers in Sacramento targeted
those investments on the basis that burning coal significantly
contributes to global climate change.
The four companies impacted by the decision are Cloud Peak
Energy, Hallador Energy Company, Peabody Energy
Corporation, and Westmoreland Coal Company,
The U.S. coal industry is suffering from a glut of cheap
natural gas, coal's primary competitor for power generation, and
oil. Weak demand helped push coal producer Arch Coal Inc into
bankruptcy last month.
The law included language saying that the Calstrs and the
California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers) did not
have to divest from coal if doing so would violate its
"fiduciary duty" to members.
"We determined that given the financial state of the
industry, the movement of the regulatory landscape and coal's
impact on the environment, its presence reflects a loss of
value," said Sharon Hendricks, chair of the investment
The fund will now determine whether to divest from non-U.S.
coal companies, she said.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll)