The EPA tightens pollution standards for power plants, with a big loophole for coal and gas

The proposed mandate requires existing power plants to start limiting their carbon dioxide emissions in 2030, introducing restrictions that would become more stringent over time. Any new gas power plants would have to comply with pollution caps as soon as they’re built. A fact sheet from the agency says it decided not to update rules for new coal plants since it doesn’t anticipate new coal facilities to come online, which are more expensive and polluting than gas plants.

The proposed rules don’t take the most effective route: pushing utilities to quickly retire coal and gas plants in favor of renewable sources like wind and solar energy. Instead, they push existing plants to adopt systems that rely heavily on controversial technology to capture CO₂ emissions. That risks prolonging the US’s dependence on fossil fuels and saddling Americans with all the other pollution that power plants generate.