Business Roundtable Urges EPA to Stop Greenhouse Gas Rules

The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives officers from companies such as General Electric Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp., urged the Obama administration to abandon efforts to regulate greenhouse gases from industrial polluters.

The Washington-based association wants President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency to scrap the rules for power plants and oil refineries, giving Congress time to craft legislation, according to an e-mailed statement today.

The EPA rules are “an example of damaging regulatory overreach that threatens to stifle U.S. economic growth and job creation,” Thomas Fanning, CEO of Atlanta-based Southern Co., a Roundtable member and the biggest U.S. utility owner by market value, said in the group’s statement.

The Chamber of Commerce, the biggest U.S. business lobbying group, Republican lawmakers and some Democrats also have called for blocking or delaying the EPA rules. White House aides said in a statement this month that they would recommend that Obama veto any legislation stripping the EPA of its power to regulate carbon-dioxide pollution under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA began regulating carbon emissions in January after Congress failed to pass legislation last year. EPA spokesmen didn’t immediately response to requests today for comment.

The first phase of the agency’s limits on greenhouse gases blamed for climate change began in January. The rules require polluters to apply for state permits if they build or expand operations. Existing facilities aren’t affected.

Legislation Failed

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed legislation this month that would bar the EPA regulations. A similar measure failed in the Democratic-led Senate in a 50-50 vote.

A February poll commissioned by the American Lung Association found 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 was taken 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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