Cynthia Coffman Does Not Speak For Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE #2: Via the Denver Business Journal, Gov. John Hickenlooper slams Attorney General Cynthia Coffman for joining this lawsuit over his objections and the state’s longstanding leadership on the issue:

“We do not support this lawsuit,” Hickenlooper said via an emailed statement.

“Clean air and protecting public health should be everyone’s top priority. Colorado’s interest is best served by an open, inclusive process to implement the Clean Power Plan,” he continued.

“This lawsuit will create uncertainty for the state and undermine stakeholders’ ability to plan for and invest in cost-effective compliance strategies, something that the Attorney General has been advising the state on,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper said Colorado also has worked “extensively with the EPA to ensure we have the time and flexibility we need. We believe that Colorado can achieve the clean air goals set by the EPA, at little or no increased cost to our residents.”


Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

POLS UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, let no pesky facts come between Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and destiny:

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman again vowed to fight President Barack Obama’s testy Clean Power Plan as the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday published the initiative’s final rules.

“It would be remiss if I, as attorney general, looked the other way and said, ‘Because Colorado is likely to meet this carbon dioxide cap, we shouldn’t challenge the federal government,’ ” said Coffman, who in late August announced she was joining a lawsuit to stop the plan. [Pols emphasis]

“That to me is an abdication of my responsibility.”

In short, Colorado is going to pass this test. But by God, we shouldn’t have to. Because freedom. And unregistered lobbyists. The rest of the state be damned!

Original post follows…


After Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced her lawsuit against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, in apparent defiance of Gov. John Hickenlooper and the rest of the state government which has been working toward a smooth transition to the clean energy economy for years, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Coffman to stop playing politics with her office at the behest of out-of-state special interests–and to abandon this ill-conceived lawsuit against our state’s best interests.

“Documents unearthed by Public Citizen reveal unethical heavy involvement in Attorney General Coffman’s opposition to the Clean Power Plan by a Texas energy attorney named Mike Nasi,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. [1] “Why is Cynthia Coffman colluding with out-of-state oil and gas interests against our state’s own governor and legislature? As Attorney General, Coffman’s job is to represent the people of Colorado, not Texas.”

“Since taking office this year, Cynthia Coffman has repeatedly brushed with scandal,” said Runyon-Harms. “Coffman has been accused of misusing her position for political advantage and was even accused by fellow Republicans of blackmailing the party’s chairman. By using the power of her office to join this lawsuit against the wishes of Gov. Hickenlooper, Coffman has once again proven that she is not fit to serve as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.”

“Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s lawsuit flies in the face of Colorado’s leadership in the global transition to a clean energy future,” said Runyon-Harms. “In 2004, Colorado passed a groundbreaking constitutional ballot measure establishing a strong renewable energy standard. In 2013, our legislature made it stronger. Experts agree that Colorado is well positioned to meet the challenge of the Clean Power Plan. Our state’s pro-energy Governor supports the Plan. It’s the right thing to do for Colorado, and it will grow our economy the same way Amendment 37 made our state a leader in renewable energy.”

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    It would be nice if the Hick haters remembered this next time they want to bash him.

    Also, is Cynthia Coffman going to get frog marched? Because now would be a good time.

    • BlueCat says:

      OK. GOP AGs for GOP governors and GOP legislatures makes sense. But with a Dem Gov. and without GOP control over the bicameral legislature….who's her client? How does this position represent the state?

      • Early Worm says:

        A related question, if anyone knows. Does the governor have the power to require an AG to act? Could a Republican governor require an AG to challenge a federal reg, even if the AG didn't want to?

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman Joins Bipartisan Group of 23 States Challenging EPA Authority

        DENVER – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) officially published in the Federal Register its 111(d) Rule, commonly referred to as the “Clean Power Plan.”  The official publication of the rule has allowed Colorado, along with a bipartisan group of 23 other states, to formally challenge the rule in federal court.  The legal challenge will clarify whether the EPA has authority under § 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to usurp the States’ control over their power grids, and to establish federal limits not just on existing power sources but on all carbon emissions from the States’ energy economies.

        “The 111(d) rule is an attempt to expand federal power over the States through administrative regulation in violation of the law.” said Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman. “Coloradans value the environment, and our state continues to be a national leader in establishing clean energy standards. We’ve proven again and again that good environmental policy can be developed and implemented successfully by Coloradans, and within the bounds of the law. This rule fits neither description.”

        The case was filed today in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

        As part of the suit, the bipartisan 24-state-coalition will ask that the court put the rule’s deadlines on hold. If that stay request is granted, states will have the option of waiting for a definitive court ruling before expending time and public resources on implementation of a rule that may be found invalid. The state plaintiffs also will seek an expedited court decision, whether or not the Clean Power Plan is stayed. 

        The Colorado Attorney General has independent authority to initiate a legal action on behalf of the State and its citizens. The Attorney General’s power is established in the common law and has been affirmed by Colorado courts, including the Colorado Supreme Court in the noteworthy 2003 redistricting case of Salazar v. Davidson.

          • DenverMom says:

            Salazar v. Davidson involved a unique situation involving a constitutional right–the right to vote.  This case is entirely different.  The AG's client on clean air issues, CDPHE, supports the federal plan.  Coffman will, in effect, be litigating against her own clients, CDPHE and the Governor.  She does not have that authority.

            • Socialisticat says:

              She probably does (I wondered this myself in an earlier diary).  From Salazar v. Davidson (section V):

              We have always recognized the ability of the Attorney General and other public officials to request original jurisdiction in matters of great public importance. The case closest to the one before us today is People v. Tool, 35 Colo. 225, 86 P. 231 (1905). In Tool, we explicitly recognized the common law power of the Attorney General to bring an original proceeding in order to protect the integrity of the election process. The Attorney General was the appropriate person to institute such an action, because "it is the function of the Attorney General . . . to protect the rights of the public . . . .

              In an even earlier case, Wheeler v. Northern Colorado Irrigation Co., we similarly held that it was "eminently fitting" that original proceedings be initiated by the Attorney General in the name of the people. 9 Colo. 248, 256, 11 P. 103, 107 (1886). Likewise, in State Railroad Commission v. People ex rel. Denver & R.G.R. Co., we affirmed the Attorney General’s authority to bring an original writ, underscoring the principle that "the Attorney General himself, as the chief legal officer of the state, is here in the interests of the people to promote the public welfare . . . ." 44 Colo. 345, 354, 98 P. 7, 11 (1908).

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