Colo. will comply with EPA carbon rule, Hickenlooper tells McConnell 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 18, 2015

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week that the Centennial State wouldn’t be taking his advice to “just say no” to U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The Democrat wrote “a thoughtful response” Thursday to the Kentucky Republican’s March 19 letter to governors mentioning that Colorado would be complying with the power plant rule, despite McConnell’s urgings against it.

Hickenlooper said his state has made “immense strides” on the environment in recent years, dealing with air quality problems in Denver and methane leaks in the oil fields. And Colorado expects to be able to comply with EPA’s power plant rule after it is finalized this summer, he said.

“Although complying with the clean power plan will be a challenge, states tackle problems of this magnitude on a regular basis,” he wrote. “We think it would be irresponsible to ignore federal law, and that is why we intend to develop a compliant Clean Power Plan.”

McConnell has devoted personal effort to advocating that states not submit state implementation plans (SIPs) for the rule, arguing that they have more to lose than to gain from doing so (E&E Daily, March 20). His letter to the governors says EPA lacks the authority to sue a state that doesn’t comply and that any policies included in a SIP would invite federal and third-party litigation.

And he argues that the limitations of the Clean Air Act mean that any federal plan EPA eventually imposes on sources within a noncompliant state would likely be less restrictive than one a state would have to write in order to meet the rule’s targets.

Hickenlooper in his letter said that Colorado was already on track to reduce emissions 20 percent below 2012 levels and has not seen a price spike from it.

The federal rule would require Colorado to cut power-sector greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent by 2030.