Colo. bows out of Clean Power Plan challenge

Source: Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Colorado’s new Democratic attorney general is pulling the state out of a legal challenge to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Phil Weiser asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Saturday to withdraw the Centennial State from the case.

Under previous Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R), Colorado joined more than two-dozen states in challenging the EPA rule, which sought to slash carbon emissions from the power sector.

The litigation is now on ice as the Trump administration works on a replacement rule, but it could someday be revived.

Weiser won the attorney general seat in a November upset and vowed to prioritize environmental protection and climate action.

Colorado is one of four states whose top legal positions switched from red to blue in the 2018 election (Greenwire, Nov. 7, 2018).

Michigan, another of those states, has also left the Clean Power Plan litigation. Newly seated Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) earlier this month withdrew the state from that case and two other challenges to Obama-era Clean Air Act regulations (E&E News PM, Jan. 22).

Wisconsin, another of the four states, has not moved to exit the litigation at this point.

The fourth state with an attorney general office that switched parties, Nevada, is not a main party to the Clean Power Plan case but filed an amicus brief in 2016 favoring the challengers to the regulation.

New Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford, then a state senator, criticized the state’s 2016 move at the time and expressed support for the EPA rule.