Posted by: tommtn | February 26, 2013

Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Interlocutory Challenge to Regional Haze Plan

The Colorado Supreme Court just issued an order in favor of our clients in the ongoing legal challenge to a statewide clean air plan, in Colorado Mining Association v. Urbina.  The Court denied a petition that challenged key elements of the Regional Haze plan adopted in Colorado pursuant to the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act.  This innovative plan will not only reduce Regional Haze in national parks and wilderness areas, it will also dramatically reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state.  These improvements will generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in public health benefits, all at a cost significantly lower than a more traditional pollution control program as advocated for by the coal interests.  The plan was reviewed and endorsed by a broad, bipartisan coalition of stakeholder groups and elected officials in Colorado, including the entire state congressional delegation and the governor.  The U.S. EPA approved the plan in September of 2012 (as published in the Fedreal Register on December 31, 2012).

The lawsuit was filed by the Colorado Mining Association (CMA), which objected to the Regional Haze plan adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission.  After we briefed the issue last year, the trial court dismissed the CMA challenge as moot, due to subsequent legislative action.  CMA filed appeals both in the court of appeals and a direct appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court (in the form of an interlocutory petition for certification).  Our clients (a number of state and national environmental organizations), along with the State of Colorado, several natural gas companies and Public Service Company of Colorado, opposed the CMA writ petition.  The victory removes yet another roadblock CMA sought to put in the way of this important Regional Haze plan.  We will be briefing the underlying appeal this week, as that element of the litigation remains active.

This win builds upon our prior victories in this case, including our successful work in the underlying administrative action, the favorable decision by the trial court, and now a favorable order by the Colorado Supreme Court.

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