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Environmental Groups Defend Clean Power Plan

The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver, office of state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Credit: Colorado Judicial Branch.
The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver, office of state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Credit: Colorado Judicial Branch.
September 1, 2015

DENVER – Environmental groups are doubling down after Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced the state will join a lawsuit to block the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

Coffman, a Republican, told the Denver Post the plan would cost jobs, raise utility rates and undercut the state's authority to regulate power.

Kim Stevens, state director with Environment Colorado, calls Coffman's action "a political move" to undercut a big step forward to slow climate change.

"This is the time for Coloradans to stand up and let their decision-makers know they are ready to see them stand up and act on climate," she says, "and tackle the pollution that's causing this problem."

According to Stevens, the EPA's plan will add jobs in the clean energy sector and eventually cut utility bills by almost $100 dollars per year, on average. She adds that the plan allows states to decide where and how to reduce emissions from existing power plants to meet EPA targets.

More than 20 states are expected to be a part of the lawsuit challenging the plan.

Stevens notes Coloradans are already feeling the impacts of a changing climate, from drought to wildfires to historic flooding. She says the Clean Power Plan addresses the largest contributor to climate change – coal-fired power plants – which account for 40 percent of emissions in the state.

"This plan is the largest single step that our country has ever taken to tackle the pollution that is fueling climate change," she says.

Stevens adds that cracking down on coal and gas – while ramping up renewables like wind and solar – is estimated to save more than $50 billion per year in health benefits, and lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children by 2030.

Stevens says Environment Colorado and other organizations will to continue to pressure Coffman and state officials to fully implement the plan.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO