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CO Moves Ahead on Clean Power Plan Goals

Colorado's governor says the state won't back down on its efforts to reduce climate pollution, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. (Mohsan Dabiri-e Vaziri/Wikimedia Commons)
Colorado's governor says the state won't back down on its efforts to reduce climate pollution, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. (Mohsan Dabiri-e Vaziri/Wikimedia Commons)
February 12, 2016

DENVER - On the heels of this week's U.S. Supreme Court decision temporarily blocking implementation of the Clean Power Plan, Gov. John Hickenlooper says Colorado still is committed to having the cleanest air in the nation and will continue to work to reduce emissions.

The high court's move comes after industry groups and 27 state attorneys general, including Colorado's Cynthia Coffman, filed suit to block the measure.

Jill Ryan, an Eagle County commissioner, said more than two-thirds of Coloradans support the Environmental Protection Agency's plan.

"It's really in our best interest to move forward," she said. "We have so many sunny days in Colorado that solar power just makes sense, and green industry is just starting to boom in Colorado."

Opponents of the plan claim that power plants would have to make big investments to comply with rules that might be overturned, depending on the outcome of the next election. Ryan said the Supreme Court already has upheld the EPA's authority to limit carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. A federal appeals court is expected to rule on the case later this year.

Most states in the lawsuit, which claims that the new rules are an overreach of executive authority, have close ties to fossil-fuel production. Atlantic Council senior fellow Heather Zichal, a former climate-policy adviser for the Obama administration, said she's confident the court ultimately will uphold the plan.

"States are in a position to be true leaders, despite the dysfunction of Washington around climate policy," she said. "We're certainly expecting to see a lot of action at the state level - and I, for one, am very encouraged by that."

The plan calls for reducing emissions from existing coal-fired power plants - the largest contributors to climate pollution - by 32 percent below their 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA has estimated the move would cut 870 million tons of carbon pollution and bring $54 billion in health and climate benefits.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO