The meetings included 16 Republican attorneys general and three Democrats. The sessions focused on environmental issues and the coal, oil and natural gas industries.
Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers said environmental laws are designed so that the states have the authority to set regulatory standards.
“Our framers set up a separation of powers between the federal and state government,” Suthers said. “In the eight years I have been attorney general, there has been an erosion of that cooperative federalism. More and more, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and other federal agencies are usurping the prerogatives given to the states.”
The meetings were closed to the public, except for a news conference after the final session.
“We did not want this to be a political event,” Pruitt said. “This was not to garner attention. This was intended to be a working session where attorneys general could spend time learning together and creating strategy. It's difficult to do that in a media or political event.”
Pruitt and Suthers have worked together on states' rights issues before.
The two are among 28 state attorneys general who have sued in an effort to stop federally mandated health insurance, commonly referred to as Obamacare.