Latest coal industry attack on Clean Air, Clean Jobs stopped in its tracks

Colorado Court of Appeals tosses Mining Association lawsuit on state Regional Haze Plan, affirming lower court

November 22, 2013
Contact: 
Pam Kiely, PK Strategies, 303-929-8702 pam@pkstrategiesllc.com
Tom Bloomfield, The Gallagher Law Group, 303-800-6901, tbloomfield@thegallaghergroup.com

Denver (Nov. 21, 2013)Today, a Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed, in a 2-1 decision, a lower court decision holding that a lawsuit filed by the Colorado Mining Association challenging the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission's adoption of Colorado's Regional Haze plan was moot.

Colorado's Regional Haze plan is a bipartisan clean air plan that includes a suite of cost-effective air pollution reductions stemming from Colorado's landmark Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act. Emissions reductions from the plan will cut Denver's "Brown Cloud," curb summer smog across the Colorado Front Range, protect Rocky Mountain National Park and reduce dangerous carbon pollution. Colorado's Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act demonstrates that smart, bipartisan state-driven solutions to our nations clean air challenges are durable and put Colorado on a solid path towards meeting upcoming air quality and climate challenges.

"Coloradans continue to lead the nation in bipartisan solutions to build a strong clean energy economy and healthier air for our families," said John Nielsen Executive Director of Western Resources Advocates. "These pioneering solutions have laid a strong foundation for Colorado to again lead the way in meeting EPA's carbon pollution standards for power plants."

"The Court was clearly correct to reject Colorado Mining Association's meritless attack on these clean air protections for Colorado," said Tom Bloomfied of The Gallagher Law Group, who represented a coalition of environmental and conservation organizations in defending the protections under the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, including Western Resources Advocates, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, Environment Colorado and Conservation Colorado. "The Colorado legislature itself approved the Colorado clean air plan after it was presented to them, so that plan is now the law in Colorado. The Colorado Mining Association's relentless lawsuits attacking earlier agency action are moot."

"Today's judicial decision affirms, yet again, that Colorado's collaborative blueprint for clean air and clean jobs is sound," said Environmental Defense Fund attorney Pamela Campos. "It's time for the Colorado Mining Association to end this fight and to join with the coalition of Coloradans building healthier communities and a safer climate."

"This decision upholds the desire of Coloradans to ensure a future with cleaner air and cleaner energy choices," said Roger Singer with Sierra Club in Colorado. "Our state and the EPA can now better focus on moving forward together with cleaning up old coal plants and investing in renewable energy."

"Today's decision further demonstrates the deep commitment to continue to protect our air quality and move forward with a commitment to clean and renewable energy for the future of Colorado," said Jeanne Bassett, Senior Associate with Environment Colorado.

"Since the passage of the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, Colorado has become a leader in taking cost effective common sense measures to protect our rocky mountain air, while providing Colorado the clean energy we need to power our economy and protect our unique quality of life," said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado. "The Colorado Court of Appeals decision today is a vicotry for Colorado's clean air."

Clean Air, Clean Jobs paved the way for the retirement and replacement of the aging, dirty coal-fired power plants in the Denver-metro area, and will result in substantial improvements for the region's air quality while cutting the carbon pollution that causes extreme weather.

While the Colorado Mining Association (CMA) has been fighting for over three years now to undermine these critical human health and environmental protections for Colorado's families and communities, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision holding that the CMA challenge was moot. Colorado's clean air plan was approved by the General Assembly with broad, bi-partisan support.

The Colorado clean air plan will dramatically reduce harmful oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide emissions, cut millions of tons of carbon pollution, and will generate more than $200 million per year in public health benefits (In Re Colorado Regional Haze State Implementation Plan, CO Air Quality Control Comm'n, Env'l Coalition Rebuttal Statement, 1-2 Dec. 27, 2010)

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Western Resource Advocates is a regional nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the West's land, air, and water. Offices or staff are located in Boulder (CO), Phoenix and Tucson (AZ), Pocatello (ID), Santa Fe (NM), Carson City (NV) and Salt Lake City (UT). Go to our website and follow us on Twitter @WRADV