DENVER, Colo. (Mar. 24, 2016) – A Senate committee killed a Colorado bill that would have taken a small, but important, first step in setting the foundation to reject some federal EPA rules and regulations in practice.

Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley) introduced Senate Bill 46 (SB46) on Jan. 19. The legislation would have prohibited the Department of Environmental Protection from unilaterally implementing EPA “Clean Power Plan” emission requirements. Instead, it would have created a state-centered process that could have impeded federal enforcement power. It read, in part:

Before the commission finalizes a state plan or any other commitment to the federal government relating to the federal emission regulations, the commission shall request the participation of the public utilities commission, its director, or its designated staff and all electric generation and distribution utilities within colorado, including investor-owned utilities, cooperative electric associations, generation and transmission associations, and municipal utilities, and may also request the participation of the department and such other persons or entities as the commission may find necessary or helpful to develop the proposed state plan…

Upon receiving the proposed state plan, commission decision, and accompanying report, each chamber of the general assembly shall vote on a joint resolution to approve submission of the proposed state plan to the EPA.

However, this commonsense measure that would have added deliberation and transparency to the process of adopting environmental regulations was not meant to be. SB46 was killed in committee before it could even receive a fair vote in the full Senate.

SB46 needed to be passed out of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee to receive a vote in the Senate. Unfortunately, the committee voted unanimously to postpone the legislation indefinitely, effectively killing it. Chairman Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) presided over the committee as it stopped SB46 from receiving a Senate vote.

While SB46 would not have guaranteed that the state would reject compliance with EPA mandates, the foundation would have been set to do so. It would have put the entire process into the public spotlight, allowing the public to have a stake in the situation. This is why SB46’s demise is such a tragedy for the freedom of Colorado residents.

With the federal courts putting a “pause” on federal implementation of some of the EPA Clean Power Plan, there has never been a better time for states to begin to push back against these potentially hazardous federal regulations. SB46 would have given the state of Colorado a bigger say in the process, thus diminishing the power of the EPA. The legislation also would have set the stage for more aggressive action such as refusing cooperation with the enforcement of EPA rules and regulations.

However, the state of Colorado will not have a chance to regain its sovereignty and rebuke EPA regulations until the next legislative session convenes. Until then, the EPA is allowed to operate in the state of Colorado unabated.


Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg is the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee. Please give him a call, and alert him to the urgency of this pressing matter. Politely urge him to stand up for Colorado’s interests and support legislation that pushes back against the EPA’s arbitrary rule-making support.

Sonnenberg: (303) 866-6360

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