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Rockefeller Seeks Vote This Month to Stop EPA Rules

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Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Jay Rockefeller will demand a vote this month on his measure to delay Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries.

The West Virginia Democrat told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada that he will insist on a vote, according to a statement from Rockefeller’s office. The senator, who says the EPA rules will hurt the economy, said he’s prepared to hold up passage of separate legislation needed to fund the government in order to get his EPA bill to the Senate floor.

“The time has come for us to make a decision on the energy future of our country,” Rockefeller said today in the statement. “I have spent this year fighting to make sure that Congress, not the EPA, determines how best to reduce greenhouse gases in a way that protects West Virginia’s economy.”

Rockefeller has told Democratic lawmakers that without action on his bill delaying the Jan. 2 rules, Republicans who will take control of the House of Representatives next month may seek to permanently strip the agency of authority over emissions tied to climate change. Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, declined to comment.

Rockefeller’s legislation calls for a two-year delay of the EPA rules under the federal Clean Air Act.

EPA spokesmen didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The agency plans to regulate greenhouse gases after Congress failed this year to pass legislation limiting emissions.

Industry Opposes EPA

Groups such as the Washington-based Industrial Energy Consumers of America said the clean-air law wasn’t intended to regulate emissions linked to climate change.

“There are better, more economic alternatives to significantly reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” according to a letter today from the IECA, which represents manufacturing companies with a combined $800 billion in annual sales, to Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The group urged the Senate to let Rockefeller’s measure move forward.

“Your leadership is needed,” the group wrote. “The economic and regulatory uncertainties imposed by these regulations is a disincentive for manufacturing companies to invest in existing and new facilities and encourages companies to invest abroad rather than in the U.S.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Chipman in Washington at kchipman@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at Lliebert@bloomberg.net.

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