Some things seem predictable about volatile energy rule

It was almost predictable that the other shoe would drop.
And that the other shoe would be on the other foot.
But what was not predictable were some of the toes on that other foot, among other things.
In 2016, 27 states sued the Obama administration to block the Clean Power Plan.
That plan, launched in 2015 was designed to reduce power plant emisssions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Some estimates show our country is already anywhere from a third to two-thirds of the way to meeting that goal despite that lawsuit resulting in a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
That stay bought time for the Trump administration to begin repealing the CPP following the president’s election.
In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eliminated the CPP and replaced it with a new rule — the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.
What the ACE does is constrict the EPA’s regulatory responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, setting a low bar on emissions nationwide and empowering states to determine their own limits, among other things.
This week, 21 states, the District of Columbia and six major metropolitan areas sued the Trump administration over its move to ease those restrictions.
Their lawsuit argues not only is the Trump administration trying to prop up an outdated industry — coal — but the ACE is also bad for emerging new energy markets.
Of course, it also notes that the science of climate change is indisputable and also comes at a human cost — additional air pollution as a result of the ACE will cost thousands of additional lives, according to the EPA’s own analysis.
Of course, some are going to immediately turn this into a political argument and by all appearances it looks like it.
The 27 states that sued the Obama administration were Republican-led while the 21 suing the Trump administration are Democratic-led states.
But a closer look at these 21 states presents some problems with that argument. For one thing, four of those states — Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — all voted to elect President Trump in 2016.
Another thing that might be disconcerting for pro-coal business groups and some of our state’s leaders, is Maryland and Virginia also joined Pennsylvania in this lawsuit.
Numerically, these 21 states represent nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population, too.
We reject any efforts, and hope courts do too, to roll back carbon restrictions.
It’s unlikely our newspaper will sway the nation’s high court to reject efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan. But technological trends, energy markets and the power sector decarbonizing faster than expected just might.
By the way, that is predictable.

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