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Today, we’re breaking down the U.S. EPA’s big plan to curb coal plant emissions — and a few hurdles standing in the way.

A coal plant releases white smoke from two of its three tall smokestacks.
Credit: William Alden / Flickr

On Friday, the EPA rolled out long-awaited emissions rules that, if approved, would require coal and some gas power plants to capture at least 90% of their carbon emissions by 2030 or face shutdown.

The plan would curb a huge chunk of U.S. carbon emissions, albeit not for several more years. But there are a few major hurdles in the way, including the question of whether carbon capture is ready for the job. Fossil fuel companies have insisted for years that they can keep running business as usual if they capture and store their emissions, and with this rule, experts say the EPA is essentially asking them to prove it.

There would be a few exemptions to the rules, including for coal plants planning to retire by 2040 and peaker plants that only run when electricity demand is high. (The latter tend to be located in communities of color and other vulnerable neighborhoods, leaving them to face continued pollution.)

West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is not a fan of the proposed rules, saying he’d oppose every one of the EPA’s nominees unless the agency scales them back. What Manchin hasn’t said is that his family coal business would suffer if coal plants shut down.

More clean energy news

👣 Shrinking renewables’ footprint: Researchers visualize how much land is needed to meet U.S. electricity demand with renewable power and suggest ways to reduce the footprint of solar and wind projects. (Washington Post)

🚜 A New Deal for rural clean energy: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces it will devote $11 billion to electrify and decarbonize rural areas, with funding set aside for hydrogen projects, carbon capture and transmission improvement, in the biggest investment in rural electrification since the New Deal. (E&E News)

☀️ Solar manufacturing standards: The Biden administration unveils U.S.-made content standards for solar panels looking to access federal incentives, but some Democrats and manufacturers say it’s too soft on Chinese-made components. (Utility Dive, The Hill, Washington Post)

💸 Big budget, limited time: U.S. Energy Department’s Loan Program Office looks to lend a boosted budget of $400 billion to promising clean energy projects before the 2024 election potentially upends its leadership. (New York Times)

♻️ Reduce, reuse, renewables: The industry for wind turbine and solar panel recycling is poised for major growth as both industries continue to scale up but lack economical recycling options. (CNBC)

🚗 Can EVs keep up with federal rules? Automakers say their manufacturing and supply chains may not be able to keep up with proposed federal tailpipe emissions rules meant to spur the electric vehicle transition. (Reuters)

🏦 SVB is back: Silicon Valley Bank announces it’s financing its first community solar project after its collapse and ownership change: a 100 MW portfolio of arrays across seven states. (Canary Media)

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Kathryn brings her extensive editorial background to the Energy News Network team, where she oversees the early-morning production of ENN’s five email digest newsletters as well as distribution of ENN’s original journalism with other media outlets. From documenting chronic illness’ effect on college students to following the inner workings of Congress, Kathryn has built a broad experience in her more than five years working at major publications including The Week Magazine. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism and information management and technology from Syracuse University.