Climate Bill Lacks Industry Support

by | Apr 22, 2010

Despite working with Senators on a compromise for climate legislation, major industry associations including the American Petroleum Institute and the National Mining Association are not saying whether they support the Senate climate bill, set to be released next week (April 26),  reports Reuters.

Major sticking points include offshore oil drilling, the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations, gasoline taxes, the upper limit for carbon pricing, and a border tax.

As an example, offshore drilling is opposed by many Democrats including Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg from New Jersey, while coastal states support it. In addition, big oil companies want to be protected from endangered species lawsuits such as the one that cites industry emissions are causing erosion in a coastal Alaskan town, reports Reuters.

However, EPA’s climate regulations and gasoline taxes may no longer be issues. According to recent reports, the Senate climate bill is expected to prohibit the EPA from regulating carbon emissions, and despite rumors of a gas tax increase to pay for the energy and climate bill, the White House has said that Senators and the White House do not support a gas tax increase.

Opposition to President Obama’s “green” agenda is also spreading to chemical companies, which will also be impacted by proposals to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reports The Guardian.

Leading the charge is a secretive group called the Coalition for Responsible Regulation Inc. (CRR), which is connected to Solvay, a leading European chemical company in Europe, according to the article. The group has joined more than a dozen states and several industry groups in 17 legal challenges against the EPA.

In February alone, several industry groups, conservative think tanks, lawmakers and three states filed 16 lawsuits against the EPA’s endangerment finding, which allows the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The filings with the Texas authorities indicate that CRR was founded on November last year, a day after the EPA announced its endangerment findings, reports The Guardian. 

Eric Groten, an attorney for the coalition, said in the article it plans to file at least three more legal challenges against the EPA.

The court documents list six companies and trade associations representing mining and beef interests as members, and although Solvay is not listed, Groten told the newspaper that there were more corporate and individual members.

At the same time, the White House is reviewing the EPA’s rule on which factories and power plants will be subject to GHG regulations, reports Reuters.

The EPA requires 31 industries, which accounts for 85 percent of the annual production of U.S. greenhouse gases in the country, to track and report emissions, starting with the largest emitters on Jan. 1.

The EPA’s “tailoring rule” sets emissions thresholds for big emitters including coal-fired power plants as well as cement, glass and steel makers.

The Obama Administration has said it prefers that Congress pass legislation to limit greenhouse gases but without legislation the EPA is the back-up plan to regulate emissions, which many U.S. lawmakers and industries are against, reports Reuters.

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