The Colorado Statesman
November 10, 2015
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman rightfully joined a multi-state suit challenging the toxic-waste dumping Environmental “Protection” Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Shortly thereafter, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sought an opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court about her power to file suit against the wishes of our state’s top elected official.
The new, controversial and questionable Clean Power Plan will require power plants to reduce emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels between now and 2030.
The plan will impose burdensome regulations at power plants, essentially ignore efforts like those in Colorado, and hurt Coloradans, who would be forced to foot the bill for compliance costs. The worst part is it won’t even make a noticeable difference in the health of our planet, and it will potentially lead to lost lives as a result of the negative economic consequences.
So, it comes as no shock that the majority of Coloradans oppose the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Coloradans oppose the dirty plan for its negative impacts including increases in electricity bills, effects on minority communities and negligible effects on global temperatures or carbon emissions, according to a poll conducted by Magellan Strategies.
In case Hickenlooper doesn’t realize, Coffman is an elected official, not his subordinate, and she doesn’t report to him. In 2014, more Coloradans voted for Coffman than for Hickenlooper, yet our governor believes that Coffman needs his permission to file a suit he doesn’t agree with.
Or maybe it’s a gender thing. When our previous attorney general, John Suthers — a man — filed a lawsuit against Boulder for defying the state constitution, Hickenlooper expressed his disagreement but moved on. When Suthers defended Colorado laws on marijuana legalization opposed by Hickenlooper, our governor again stayed quiet.
So why did Hickenlooper ask for an opinion from the state’s high court when Coffman filed the suit? Twenty-three other states across the country have joined the lawsuit against the rogue federal agency, yet our governor wants our duly elected attorney general to ask to kiss his ring first?
Colorado has already implemented legislation that would kill “dirty energy” sources and replace them with “clean energy” sources. The oil and gas industry is Colorado’s largest source of energy, and Coffman has every right to protect Coloradans and our state — in fact, she is obligated to do so. That’s why Colorado voted her into office, with more votes than any other candidate on the ballot.
Colorado is enjoying a healthy burst of prosperity due to hydraulic fracturing. One of our greatest industries has partnered successfully with the agricultural industry in Weld County, for example, and it has revitalized the community and helped our schools, businesses and young people.
According to Energy from Shale, for about a decade, between 2003 and 2012, the oil and gas industry accounted for 52 percent of the county’s total property valuation — helping raise property tax revenue to a whopping $110 million per year. In 2012 alone, the oil and gas industry contributed a total of $29.6 billion to Colorado’s economy, supporting 111,500 Colorado jobs. Thanks to the industry, Energy from Shale says, that same year, Colorado’s state and local governments, school districts and others received a total of $1.6 billion in revenues.
So why does Hickenlooper expect Coffman to get his permission? It is not just because he disagrees with her position. He disagreed with the previous attorney general and never asked for an opinion from the Supreme Court. It is not just because he wants to kill “dirty energy” jobs — though his support of the EPA’s power plan will certainly take care of that.
Why would Hickenlooper fight against such a crucial, healthy and beneficial industry in Colorado? Why would Hickenlooper side with the lawless Obama administration and the toxic EPA over Coloradans and his state’s elected attorney general?
There are a lot of unanswered questions on why exactly Hickenlooper is hell-bent on doing the dirty work of the destructive, out-of-control EPA, and we don’t want to speculate on why the governor wants the opinion of the Supreme Court. However, after looking at his actions in the past, we can only find one plausible answer.
Maybe it’s because she’s a woman.
Jonathan Lockwood is the executive director of Advancing Colorado, a pro-environment, free-market advocacy group.