In 2010, the CPUC ruled that many of the state’s coal-fired generating plants would have to be converted to natural gas to bring the state into compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The CPUC then claimed that opponents had not properly filed their appeals and their cases should have been dismissed.

According to the Craig Daily Press, a lawsuit challenging the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s approval of an implementation plan for House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, will be heard in Denver District Court.

What the state Supreme Court actually ruled was to uphold the rights of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC) to question the validity of an agreement between the PUC and the Public Service Company of Colorado following passage of the bill. PSC is a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, Inc., established in December 2010.

“We are very pleased the Colorado Supreme Court has made clear the AGNC’s right to have its day in court,” said Mike Sampson, Garfield County commissioner and AGNC chairman. “The adverse impacts of the PUC approved plan on Northwest Colorado communities are staggering. Northwest Colorado communities rely on valuable jobs associated with responsible coal mining and the PUC’s ill-conceived decision threatens these jobs.”

If the plan goes forward, several coal-fired power plants in the Denver area will be converted to natural gas or shut down by 2018.