Republicans Seek to Delay EPA Rules Due to High Gasoline Prices

A U.S. House subcommittee will consider legislation this week that would force the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new regulations because of high gasoline prices.

The panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will debate legislation on March 28 that would require further study of possible EPA rules to cut sulfur from gasoline, curb pollution from refineries and require renewable fuels to be mixed into the gasoline supply. The rules would be put on hold until after the study is completed.

A separate bill would require that the Energy secretary develop a plan to open more federal lands for oil and gas drilling if the administration decides to release crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Gasoline futures have gained 26 percent this year as mounting tension with Iran pushed oil higher and refinery shutdowns triggered concern that stockpiles may be curtailed during the peak U.S. driving season. Gasoline prices at the pump have gained 18 percent this year to $3.897 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data.

The rising cost of gasoline threatens to slow the U.S. recovery and is emerging as an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Environmental groups said the EPA proposals aren’t having any effect on the current rise in pump prices. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson pledged last week to consider a request from the state of Pennsylvania that the EPA waive summer-gasoline standards in the Pittsburgh area because of refining shortages.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

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