Colo. governor doesn’t see benefit of joining lawsuit

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 28, 2015

DENVER — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) today asserted that Colorado will be able to easily meet lower carbon emissions dictated by the Obama administration, and said he did not see the benefit of the state opting into a lawsuit that aims to block the Clean Power Plan.

Hickenlooper made his remarks in an appearance at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual Rocky Mountain Energy Summit.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a heavy lift to meet those rules,” Hickenlooper said in a brief speech in which he focused on Colorado’s current energy economy — acknowledging a downturn in oil prices while asserting that “these down-cycles always drive innovation” — and briefly touched on the Clean Power Plan.

In an interview with E&ENews PM following his remarks, Hickenlooper said the state is doing its “due diligence” on how to meet the Clean Power Plan. He also said he has met with Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) over whether Colorado should join a lawsuit with 15 other states aimed at blocking the new regulations. Coffman will ultimately decide whether the state joins the lawsuit.

“I look at it in a more pragmatic way: that we’re a mile high, we want as clean air as we can,” Hickenlooper said. “We’re doing our own plan anyway, and we’re hopeful that many of the things that we want to get done anyway are going to allow us to comply with the goals that are set for us” in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

He added: “We’re doing the analysis of the data, but certainly so far we haven’t felt that the state benefits from that lawsuit.”

In his speech, Hickenlooper also acknowledged “some disagreement” with Coffman over the lawsuit.

“The indications are, I won’t put words in her mouth, that she wants to file suit against this. I think there’s legitimate questions about local autonomy, whether this is a state’s rights issue,” Hickenlooper said.

He also asserted that the new rules aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants would help elevate the use of natural gas for energy generation.

“Certainly if you’re involved in oil and gas, there’s a lot of good that will come out … in terms of continuing to make sure that natural gas takes a higher role,” Hickenlooper said.