Supreme Court Rejects Colorado AG Suthers’ Argument

Twenty-three states filed legal briefs in the Duke Energy case before the U.S. Supreme Court decided yesterday by a unanimous court.

Twenty-one states sided with the victorious environmental groups.  Colorado, at the behest of Republican Attorney General John Suthers, and Alabama, took the losing side of the polluter Duke Energy.  Why was Colorado taking a lonely pro-pollution position in this litigation, on behalf of a for profit company in another state?  Probably because “David R. Tourangeau, who was appointed on January 24, 2006 by Republican Governor Owens, to Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission, is general counsel for Duke Energy.”

On the merits, Duke Energy was arguing that it didn’t have to install new pollution controls when it upgraded its coal fired plants.  Justice David Souter’s unanimous opinion held that the interpretation of the 1980 clean air regulations advance by Duke Energy and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers “was inconsistent with their terms and effectively invalidated them.”

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Andrew Oh-Willeke

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