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Obama Aides Would Urge Veto of Bill Barring EPA Carbon Rules

Obama Aides Would Urge Veto of Bill Barring EPA Carbon Rules
Chairman Fred Uptons bill would strip the EPAs authority to limit carbon emissions from industrial polluters such as power plants. Photographer: Ed Lallo/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama’s aides would recommend he veto Republican-backed legislation barring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases tied to global warming.

The measure from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, would increase U.S. reliance on foreign oil and “contradict the scientific consensus on climate change,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said today in a statement.

Upton’s bill would strip the EPA’s authority to limit carbon emissions from industrial polluters such as power plants. Republican lawmakers and some Democrats said the EPA rules will hurt the economy without providing any environmental benefit. Environmentalists have urged Obama to say he would veto such legislation.

“The White House finally used the ‘v’ word,” Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a Washington-based environmental group, said in an interview.

The House of Representatives is set to vote on Upton’s bill as early as tomorrow, Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Power subcommittee, told CNBC today. About 24 Democratic lawmakers may join Republicans to vote for the bill, he said.

Agreement ‘Very Close’

In the Senate, lawmakers are “very close” to an agreement to vote on measures that would either stop or delay the EPA greenhouse-gas rules, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters today.

The EPA’s regulations, which took effect in January, were put into place after Congress failed to pass climate legislation backed by Obama to create a cap-and-trade system for pollution allowances.

Republicans and some Democrats say the Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate emissions such as carbon dioxide, an odorless, invisible gas unlike smog.

The National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based industry trade group, urged House members to support Upton’s bill, the Energy Tax Prevention Act.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions, with no guidance from Congress, will cost jobs and slow economic growth,” Aric Newhouse, vice president of policy and government relations, said today in a letter to lawmakers.

A February poll commissioned by the American Lung Association found that 60 percent of people questioned said Congress shouldn’t stop the EPA rules and 35 percent thought lawmakers should bar the agency from limiting discharges of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas.

The survey of 500 probable voters Feb. 7-14 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Republican pollster Ayres, McHenry & Associates, according to the Washington-based association, a health-advocacy group. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

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