Business & Real Estate

CalSTRS agrees to unload U.S. coal stocks

CalSTRS’ governing board voted Wednesday to sell its stocks in U.S. coal companies, in line with a state law directing California’s pension funds to divest themselves from coal investments.

The decision affects $1.5 million worth of stocks in four companies, all that’s left of a U.S. coal portfolio that CalSTRS had valued at $40 million last spring.

CalSTRS was responding to SB 185, by Senate leader Kevin de Léon, which passed the Legislature last September. De Léon, D-Los Angeles, wants the pension funds to pursue “greener” investments.

Ricardo Duran, a spokesman for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, said the pension fund’s coal holdings have dwindled in value the past few months as the companies’ stock prices sank.

“It’s the market doing the whittling on its own,” Duran said.

“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 CalSTRS board member Sharon Hendricks, chairwoman of its investment committee, in a prepared statement.

Duran said CalSTRS hasn’t yet determined the size of its international coal portfolio.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler