Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, left, and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in file photos.

(AP Photos)

Gov. John Hickenlooper says he will ask the Colorado Supreme Court whether it was legal for the state attorney general to sue the federal government over new air pollution rules even though Hickenlooper supports the rules and is trying to implement them.

Hickenlooper told The Denver Post Monday he should have had the final say on whether Attorney General Cynthia Coffman joined 23 other states in suing the Environmental Protection Agency.

"The attorney general is the people’s lawyer, the people of Colorado, and generally a lawyer can’t file a suit without the client saying we want this suit to be filed," Hickenlooper said. 

Coffman says the rules are an illegal overreach by the EPA. She has said the lawsuit doesn't keep Hickenlooper from preparing to implement the regulations.

Coffman says she has the right to file lawsuits on behalf of the state.

"I am pursuing those challenges because it is my responsibility as the independently elected attorney general to serve as a check against the abusive, unlawful exercise of federal power over the lives of Colorado’s citizens," Coffman said in a statement.

Colorado's attorney general is elected, not appointed by the governor. Coffman is a Republican and Hickenlooper is a Democrat.