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Oil, Gas Companies Backing Effort to Block U.S. EPA

The head of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest U.S. oil and gas industry trade group, is pushing a proposal in Congress to block the Environmental Protection Agency from capping carbon dioxide emissions.

“Washington bureaucrats should not decide the energy policy of the United States,” Jack Gerard, chief executive officer of the Washington-based group, said today on a conference call with reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has said he doesn’t expect to bring up legislation that would cut greenhouse-gas emissions such as carbon dioxide before Congress adjourns this year. That may leave a proposal by Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, to block the EPA from curbing emissions for two years as the biggest energy fight before lawmakers depart to campaign for the November elections.

“We support strongly the efforts by Congress to step in and limit EPA’s ability to essentially reorder the American economy,” Gerard said.

API was among 24 business groups that today urged lawmakers to block EPA carbon regulation when they act on the agency’s annual appropriation. The EPA rule would “impose a significant burden across the U.S. economy,” according to a letter from groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council and American Farm Bureau Federation.

Joe Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation, said business groups such as API were promoting “doomsday scenarios” that exaggerate the threat to industries.

Clean, Grow, Generate

“We can clean the environment, grow the economy and generate next generation pollution control technologies that we can sell across the globe,” Mendelson said in an interview.

API spent the summer congressional recess sponsoring seven industry employee rallies against proposals in Congress it opposes. Gerard said more than 8,500 people attended the events in Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and New Mexico.

The group has spent $3.6 million this year through July lobbying Congress and the administration, according to federal records.

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